Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 13:40 UK

University cuts ties with Tories

Oxford University has severed links with its Conservative association after some members were caught in a race row.

The Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) has been asked to change its name, in order to lose the reference to "university".

It follows complaints that electoral candidates were asked to tell "inappropriate" jokes during hustings.

One OUCA committee member resigned after the row in June and two students were suspended from the Tory party.

Race relations

An Oxford university spokesman said: "Following an investigation about complaints of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by members of the Oxford University Conservative Association, the university has taken the decision to withdraw the university name from the association and withdraw their right to appear at the Fresher's Fair for the coming academic year.

"The university would like to reiterate that this behaviour does not reflect the way the overwhelming majority of our students think or behave, and the individuals concerned have resigned from the association.

"The university strongly condemns any form of racism and discrimination and reaffirms its commitment to promoting good race relations."

A Conservative spokesman said at the time: "People who behave in this disgusting and reprehensible way have no place in the Conservative Party."

While the university has cut ties with the group, members can re-apply for its affiliation.

But the society must demonstrate "improved conduct over a period of time" before it can apply to get its name back.

The association, founded in 1924, is one of the oldest and largest student political organisations in the country.

It has a current membership of almost 700 and past presidents include Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath and shadow foreign secretary William Hague.

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