For the first time in over two years, the Oxford Union has at least one female guest speaker confirmed for every debate. In an apparent effort to boost the diversity of the Union’s lineup, 40 per cent of all guest speakers this term will be female. This is the joint-highest inclusion of women in a termcard for the Union, equalling the gender balance of Michaelmas 2014. Three of this term’s debates will have either gender-balanced guest speakers or more women speaking than men, and five debates will include BME speakers. In First Week, the Union will debate ‘This House Would Never Be An MP’, followed by topics including ‘This House Embraces Sex Work as a Career Choice’, ‘The Tobacco Industry is Morally Reprehensible’, and the argument that ‘Britain Owes Reparations to her Former Colonies’.Alongside speakers already announced, the Union has confirmed to Cherwell additional speakers including the American rock band KISS, author and Conservative politician Lord Michael Dobbs, Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, singer-songwriter D’banj and actress Diane Kruger. “However, this is only a start. Although we have one of the most diverse lineups the Union has ever seen, this is something that we will be continuing to focus on in the future to offer the best speakers. It is not always easy to diversify a lineup when we’re living in a society which tends to encourage some groups to have their voices heard more than others. However, the Union is doing its best to be the change it wants to see.” Speakers previously announced for Trinity term include violinist Nicola Benedetti, ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber, West Indies cricketer Brian Lara, and Million Dollar Baby actress Hilary Swank. Self-proclaimed ‘Magician Impossible’ Dynamo, famous for apparently walking on the River Thames, and HBO host Bill Maher are also scheduled to make an appearance at the Union. President of the Oxford Union Olivia Merrett told Cherwell, “This term we have focused on diversifying our lineup, so that not only is the Oxford Union delivering the speakers everyone has come to expect, but is also ensuring that there really is someone for all our members. Zac Goldsmith, Member of Parliament for Richmond since 2010, Group Chief Executive of Barclays Antony Jenkins, and His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople are also confirmed to speak this term.Previously announced guest speaker War- wick Davis has now been confirmed for Monday 8th June. Davis will be speaking as part of the Union’s partnership with disabilities charity Scope, which last term saw Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte speak at the Union.
JAY – The Board of Selectpersons unanimously approved the continuation of the Fire Rescue Department’s on-call trial program through June, after Chief Booker spoke to the board and told them that the program had been successful.Established in November, the program keeps one to two firefighters on call five days a week. For being on call for a day they receive a $40 stipend, in addition to regular hourly wages if responding to a call.Chief Mike Booker estimated that the budget of $20,800 should be enough to cover the program for the year. He noted that if the department received a particularly high rate of calls then that number may be cutting it close.The board also unanimously approved the raise in minimum wage of 15 cents for the Jay Fire Department as directed by the state’s minimum wage increase.In other business, the Board discussed the repair of the town’s F550 plow truck, which needs a new engine. Public Works Director John Johnson followed the town’s purchasing policy and, upon receiving the go ahead from Board Chair Terry Bergeron, left the truck at Hight Chevrolet to be repaired.The repair cost $11,462 and, according to the Jay’s purchasing policy, would typically require Board of Selectperson approval before the truck could be repaired. However, the policy does make allowance for emergency circumstances: in this case, the plow truck’s importance considering the upcoming weather. The board ratified the purchase by a vote of 3 to 1.The board also unanimously approved an updated personnel policy which includes earned paid leave. Town of Jay personnel will earn 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, in accordance with a state law that took effect on Jan. 1.The board ended the meeting by unanimously approving the Town’s Safety Mission Statement.