Cocaine found at OUSU HQ

first_imgEvidence of cocaine use has been discovered in the Oxford Union and OUSU offices. Cocaine-detecting swabs used to wipe flat surfaces in the toilets in Oxford University Students’ Union’s Bonn Square offices tested positive, as did swabs in five of the eight cubicles tested in the Oxford Union. The OUSU building is leased by the University and the third floor houses the staff of The Oxford Student and Oxide radio alongside the sabbatical offices of OUSU staff. The cocaine swabs were used to wipe a ledge by the sink and the back of both toilet cisterns in the third floor bathrooms, revealing traces of the class A drug. OUSU President Martin McCluskey said he was shocked by the results of the tests, saying “I can’t quite believe it.” He continued, “I’m surprised. The building is used by hundreds of people each week… There are more people from the OxStu and Oxide here than sabs [OUSU sabbatical officers].” Hannah Kuchler, editor of the Oxford Student, whose offices share a bathroom with the student union, also argued that the toilets were freely accessible, saying, “Jacari, UCU, the fucking Lecturers’ Union. Anyone could use it.” McCluskey added, “I can assure you that it wasn’t an OUSU sab. We don’t have a policy towards drug use, but we’re zero tolerance. The security in this building isn’t fantastic, sometimes the doors are open at weekends.” He emphasised that he trusted OUSU’s sabbatical staff, saying, “we spend a lot of time together and I’m sure they’re not cocaine users.” The current President suggested that the offices were regularly used by people not involved with the Student Union, saying, “Oxide and the OxStu combined bring in more people than OUSU… We’ve got non-students based here, too.” McCluskey did not, however, give any indication that OUSU’s security arrangements would change in the near future: “There’s very little we can actually do. This is a University building, not an OUSU building.” Tests also revealed traces of the illegal drug at the Oxford Union. Swabs turned up positive results in over half of the eight cubicles tested in the Oxford Union, and several students have admitted to using the drug on the premises. The tests at the Oxford Union were conducted on two separate occasions: after President’s Drinks on a Thursday evening, and on a weekday afternoon. One Oxford Union member, who preferred to remain anonymous, commented on the results. He said, “there are certain people, some quite senior, who definitely engage in drug use. I personally really dislike it. I don’t doubt that it happens.” Another student, who also did not wish to be named, said, “it’s probably one of the best places to do coke in Oxford. The toilet cubicles are massive and there are no bouncers.” He added, “there were three of us in a cubicle and no one batted an eyelid. I snorted it off the ledge above the toilet.” Ben Tansey, President of the Oxford Union, described the findings as “really disappointing”. He defended the security arrangements in place, saying, “we have security on the door. They’re briefed to deal with things like that. We search bags sometimes.” However Tansey admitted that, “Obviously it’s hard to police the Union toilets 24/7.” He denied that drug usage was a significant problem, saying, “I’ve never seen anyone do coke in Oxford. I’m quite clearly not in the scene.” Toby Shergold of Thames Valley Police warned that although the tests were positive, the drugs could have been used weeks ago. He said, “we’ve done swabs in some licensed premises across the county, but it’s important to remember that it’s an indicator of drug use. However it’s not something that a premise should be condemned for. “It takes one person to use drugs in that cubicle, for you to take a positive result, in recent weeks. It can be positive from weeks ago. He also stressed that swabs don’t reveal that large numbers of people were taking drugs at a given venue. Shergold said, “these swabs are not an accurate indicator of how much drugs have been taken in a licensed premise. “We have had swabbing operations around the county and if a licensed premise has a positive result, this is a reason to work with them to stop any future drug-taking on their property,” he added. In 2006 a Cherwell investigation found evidence of cocaine in 11 student venues, including the Union and the Bridge.last_img

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