The President-elect of the Student Union, Rashmi Samant, Linacre College, has resigned her office following pressure from JCRs, societies, and SU Campaigns.
In a short statement, posted to Samant’s Facebook, she stated: “In light of the recent events surrounding my election to the Presidency of the Oxford SU, I believe it is best for me to step down from the role. It has been an honour to be your President-elect.”
The resignation follows upheaval across the university community and an apology from Samant issued earlier today. The apology did not mention any plans to resign, but instead asked for forgiveness from the Oxford Community and plans to actively reach out to groups affected.
The apology ended by saying “I come to you seeking forgiveness for my mistakes and acceptance for my willingness to learn from them […] The chance to correct our mistakes and grow beyond limitations are the best gifts an individual may attain from fellow human beings. My belief in this community leaves me hopeful of one and I look forward to be a part of a better world.”
A student who had previously voted for Samant in the election told The Flete “As someone who voted for her, I would have preferred a genuine apology and understanding of what she had done wrong both in making the various social media statements and in responding to them with variations of “I don’t agree this is offensive”.”
The resignation follows both the Oxford SU CRAE—Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality—and the Oxford SU LGBTQ Campaign issuing statements criticising social media posts dating back as far as 2019 to the present day in connection to her election campaign. CRAE’s public statement ended: “As such, we expect her immediate letter of resignation and a formal apology to the East-Asian, Jewish, and trans communities.”
A member of Common Ground Oxford told The Flete “As an East Asian student what I wanted was the opportunity to discuss what was said and develop a forum for dialogue and learning. It is unfortunate that we were unable to have productive communications with Rashmi.”
In spite of JCR motions mandating common rooms to use their Student Council Vote, the Student Council was not accepting any motions of no confidence against the President-elect until 7th Week. The resignation of Samant means that these motions voted on at colleges such as Magdalen are now rendered futile.
Samant was contacted for comment but chose not to give one at this time.