CULC's endorsement of Freddie Poser over Jess O'Brien was seen as a surprising decisionRosie Bradbury

Cambridge student societies have begun making their endorsements in this week’s Students’ Union elections

The Cambridge University Labour Club (CULC), the Cambridge University Liberal Association (CULA), and Cambridge Zero Carbon have all endorsed candidates, with voting taking place from today to Thursday 5th March.

CULC announced on Saturday that they are backing Ben Margolis, who formerly served on their executive committee, for Undergraduate President. In a close decision, they have also endorsed Chloe Newbold for Women’s Officer, who they say has a “bold and ambitious programme for the empowerment of female and non-binary students”.

For the voluntary position of University Councillor, CULC endorsed CULA Campaigns Officer Freddie Poser, rather than the current CUSU Disabled Students’ Sabbatical Officer Jess O’Brien, in what has been seen as a surprising decision.

Poser helped to organise the Liberal Democrat campaign against Labour in Cambridge in the recent General Election, but CULC explained that while he is “not aligned with our party, Freddie’s manifesto and promises for a greener, more transparent, and accountable university most certainly align with our values”.

CULA have, similarly, endorsed Poser for University Councillor, commending him for “running on a platform of transparency and reform”. Whilst Poser is on the CULA committee, he did not take part in the vote deciding the endorsement.

Undergraduate Presidential candidate Henry Wright has also been backed by CULA, who have said that he “represents the radical, progressive voice for those who want fundamental change” in how the Students’ Union operates.

Matt Alderton, who has come under criticism for using a homophobic slur on a Magdalene College JCR Facebook post, for which he has since apologised, was evidently disappointed that he did not receive an endorsement from CULA when running for the same position as Wright.


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He commented on CULA’s Facebook post which announced their backing for Wright, “after all those spirited discussions I went to”. Spirited Discussions is a debating event held regularly by the Association.

CULA have said that students should vote to re-open nominations for roles which are uncontested “so that the student body can have a real say on these positions”.

Cambridge Zero Carbon have decided to support Ben Margolis for Undergraduate President and, contrary to both CULC and CULA, have backed Jess O’Brien for University Councillor.

They have also endorsed Aastha Dahal (for Postgraduate President), Alice Gilderdale (for Welfare and Community Officer), and Esme Cavendish and Siyang Wei (for the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Access, Education, and Participation roles respectively).

All of these candidates, Cambridge Zero Carbon has commented, “included Climate Justice policies in their manifesto, and/or has previously campaigned with and alongside Zero Carbon for a fossil-free University.”

Whilst CULC and CULA have only supported candidates for a number of undergraduate roles, Cambridge Zero Carbon have endorsed candidates for every role, except Women’s Officer, BME Officer, and Disabled Students’ Officer.

The society explained that they made this decision because they “are a mixed group including people who do not identify as female/non-binary, disabled and/or BME” and as such they “did not think it was our place to make an endorsement”.

The Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) is yet to announce endorsements for any of the candidates at the time of writing.