The president of Oxford Union has resigned following an abuse on a blind Ghanaian student during the society’s debate.
The 25-year-old Ghanaian was dragged by the ankles out of a hall where a debate was about taking place. The incident has brought Oxford Union under pressure provoking a wave of resignations from the society as videos have spread online showing the student struggling with a security guard who forcefully tried to pry him off a bench.
On Saturday, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
President of the society Brendan McGrath apologised has since apologised his “mistakes” and resigned.
Mr. Azamati, who is a member of the union, said he feels worthless to be in the UK following the incident which took place on Oct. 17, and that he was considering legal action.
“I never expected anything like that could happen to me in Britain, let alone Oxford,” he said. “I still feel threatened.”
He added that the encounter “keeps playing on my mind.”
After the charges against Mr Azamati were successfully appealed, Mr McGrath apologised to the Africa Society “for the distress and any reputational damage” to the student.
Helen Mountfield QC, representing Mr Azamati, had said there were ongoing talks with the union over what steps it could take to address the “failings” exposed by the case.
In a letter to the standing committee, posted on Oxford Union’s Facebook page, Mr McGrath said: “For all my shortcomings, and all of my mistakes, I apologise profusely and unqualifiedly.”
He said managing the response to Mr Azamati’s eviction from the debate had been “the most difficult thing I’ve ever been charged with”.
He added he had been asked by those present to bring the disciplinary complaint against him on behalf of a staff member but added he “should have recognised a wider obligation”.
“The right response would not have begun with prosecution and apportioning blame; it would have addressed immediately the extreme distress of all involved,” he continued.
Before signing his resignation, he added he had proposed “a full, public and independent review” of the union’s policies in relation to disability, how it trains its staff and whether the current security system “is fit for the purpose of a student society”.
The Oxford Union, which is independent from the university, has a tradition of hosting debates and speakers stretching back to 1823.
The university previously tweeted its support for Mr Azamati, and said it shared “the widespread outrage regarding the unacceptable treatment” of the student.
Source: Daily Mail GH