Oxford Union President Resigns Over Maltreatment of Blind Student
The President of Oxford Union has tendered his resignation following the manhandling and forceful removal of a blind Ghanaian postgraduate student from the union’s debate chamber.
Ebenezer Azamati, a 25-year-old student doing a master’s program in International Relations had turned up early to reserve a seat for a debate on whether it was right to have confidence in the UK Government. However, upon returning for the actual debate, he was violently dragged by his ankles out of the debate hall by security guards.
The president of the Union, Brendan McGrath, had convened a disciplinary committee meeting which accused Azamati of violent behaviour and aggression. The charges have since been dropped following an appeal that exonerated Azamati of any wrongdoing. In the midst of the row, McGrath has resigned from his post, citing difficulties in managing responses to Azamati’s eviction.
It’s the most difficult thing I’ve been charged with,” he said. “For all my shortcomings, and all of my mistakes, I apologise profusely and unqualifiedly.” Before tendering his resignation, McGrath 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”.
His resignation comes on the heels of a petition launched by the Oxford Union Africa Society (OUAS) calling for his resignation and the reinstatement of Azamati’s membership of the Union.
In the ensuing debates, Oxford University expressed its support for Azamati, indicating it will work to offer the necessary support to him.We share the widespread outrage regarding the unacceptable treatment of Ebenezer Azamati, a member of our University community, at the Oxford Union. Ebenezer’s college and the University are working to fully support him.— Oxford University (@UniofOxford) November 18, 2019
We share the widespread outrage regarding the unacceptable treatment of Ebenezer Azamati, a member of our University community, at the Oxford Union. Ebenezer’s college and the University are working to fully support him.— Oxford University (@UniofOxford) November 18, 2019
Founded in 1823, the Oxford Union is a prestigious and an independent debating society hosting debates and speeches from student members, world leaders, politicians, celebrities and academics.