Downing JCR conducted an investigation which found the VP guiltyLouis Ashworth with permission for Varsity

Downing College JCR has been embroiled in a corruption scandal, with its Vice President and Accommodation Officer resigning after evidence of JCR position rigging came to light.

The Accommodation Officer, Frankie Hill, leaked messages from the Vice President, Lauren Herd, reporting them to the JCR President. This triggered a JCR investigation into rigging allegations, which ultimately found the VP guilty.

Herd told Varsity that she was given an ultimatum of a “recall motion”, in which the evidence presented to the President would be made public, or to resign, and that she chose the latter.

Hill resigned as Accommodation and Services Officer, telling Varsity this was for “personal reasons” and that he had “acted ethically” during his term, and had not “carried out any act of misconduct”.

An email was sent to Downing students last week (09/11) from JCR President Ruari Wilson, announcing the resignation of the JCR Vice President.

The email stated: “Following a complaint and subsequent investigation, it was found that the JCR Vice-President had, at times, acted in ways that did not meet the standards expected of a student representing the JCR, in particular in the running of JCR selection processes.”

This email also included a statement from the VP in which she said: “Firstly, I would like to apologise that I have resigned from my role as Vice-President as I have enjoyed representing everyone to the best of my abilities at Downing College.”

“Sadly, a conversation from over 7 months ago with an individual I thought was a friend has come to light. It is indeed a life lesson to us all: be careful who you consider a friend and trust, and what you write in text to them, as I am sure we have all done similar at some point,” she continued.

The messages brought as evidence were between Hill and Herd, with Hill telling Varsity that these were “not one singular event, but instead many messages, with the latest coming in Freshers’ Week this year”.

The complaint lodged against the VP alleges that she manipulated the process by which the JCR’s Freshers’ Officers (or ‘Freps’) are appointed. Downing ‘Freps’ are appointed via interview and then voted on by a panel, which includes JCR members.

The former VP submitted her score only after the rest of the selection panel had submitted their scores. This was intended to give her preferred candidates the best chance of winning, she confirmed to Varsity.


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Herd told Varsity that she had “safeguarding concerns” regarding certain candidates, in regard to their involvement in the College’s drinking society.

However, the JCR told Varsity that there was “no evidence that suggested this [position rigging] was to prevent pro-drinking society students taking up these positions. No concerns regarding pro-drinking society members were expressed at the time of the selection process.”

Downing JCR told Varsity that “members of the JCR were not aware of position rigging”.

“The JCR is running by-elections for the vacant positions. We believe students appreciate that we have acted swiftly and effectively in response to this matter. The JCR believes we should now be focussing on working to improve the daily lives of students in college,” they also said.