Oxford University statement 19.3.14: Oxford University Society India Moot competition

Oxford University has been highly concerned to learn of
complaints raised by participants in the Moot competition, which was not
organised by the University but by the Oxford University Society India alumni
group. We are ourselves urgently investigating
competitors’ concerns with the leadership of the alumni society. We are asking them to
explain what went on at the proceedings, and to respond to specific complaints.
The Oxford University Society India alumni group first
proposed to the University in summer 2013 that it should organise a Moot
competition in India. At the time, the University welcomed this initiative, and
members of the Law Faculty discussed the problem to be set with the alumni
group, and offered to provide one or more judges for the competition. The
Faculty invited Indian law students to apply to the group to participate in the
competition.
The planning and organisation of the competition itself was
conducted by Oxford University Society India alumni group. The Law Faculty’s
offer to provide judges for the contest was not taken up. On February 15, the
alumni group notified the Law Faculty that they
did not wish to continue any sort of association with the Law Faculty. The group subsequently
did not respond to the University’s requests for information concerning
preparations for the Moot. No members of the Oxford Law Faculty attended the event, or
were involved in the arrangements made for competitors, in the conduct of the
competition, or its judging. These were all the responsibility of the alumni
group.
The University of Oxford is always happy to encourage and
support events run by alumni groups. However, responsibility for event
organisation rests with the groups themselves. These are autonomous,
independently-financed groups run by volunteers, who undertake to the
University to conduct themselves to a high standard and to keep us informed of
the events they organise. The University can offer advice on the running of
events but in this case, the India alumni group chose to make all the arrangements
without such advice.  
It is important to us that anyone attending an
Oxford-related event should find it enjoyable and of high quality. We always
welcome feedback about such events, including those organised by our alumni
groups. Where it is established that events have clearly fallen short of the
high standards we expect, we will investigate criticism and complaints and take
up relevant issues with the organising group. In the case of this Moot
competition, we are disconnecting any links to the Oxford University Society
India from the University’s website until the full circumstances are
established.
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