OUSU Vice President for Graduates, Yasser Bhatti, announced his resignation earlier this afternoon, citing “family reasons”.
His resignation will take effect on January 19th.
Bhatti said: “In some ways I regret to make this announcement but in other ways I feel more at ease with myself and family. Regrettably, I made the decision to step down as I feel I am unable to juggle the role of VP Graduates along with my family responsibilities. I apologize for stepping down from the opportunity to further strengthen and serve students and the University, but the intensity of this role is just too much for me and more importantly for my two little girls.”
“Despite the challenges, it has been a wonderful opportunity to serve OUSU and the wider University for seven months. I have learned much more than I ever imagined on how this world-class University works, and often in rather complicated ways.”
Louis Trup, President of OUSU, commented: “Yasser has been a valuable member of the OUSU team, working tirelessly to represent the graduate students at this university. It has been an honour to work with such a capable, innovative and dedicated person. Alongside everyone at OUSU, I wish him all the best in the future.”
In OUSU’s Michaelmas 2014 Scrutiny Report, Bhatti was described as feeling “disconnected from students” and “held back by the organisational side of the job”.
In particular, the Report noted that he found the “volume of committees” could be “bamboozling”.
The Report went on to state that Bhatti “comes from a different background and has a different perspective” to the rest of the Sabbatical Team. It continued: “This has caused some tension on occasion but on the whole the team has found ways to resolve this. We are glad he has got to grips with what his role ‘really’ is.”
Bhatti was elected in November 2013 and received 231 votes with the Jane4Change slate which advocated “an end to the division of the student voice”. In his hustings, he urged Colleges to “take more responsibility” to ensure postgraduates felt “welcome and valued members of their College”.
During his time as Graduates VP, Bhatti has worked toward creating a virtual open day for postgraduate students, which the Scrutiny Report praised as “a fantastic idea”. He also obtained a 10% bus card discount for all students and had his proposals on “Managing Supervision Expectations” accepted for implementation by all divisions at the Graduate Studies Administration and Procedures Group (GSAPG).
Along with President Louis Trup, Bhatti recently co-signed OUSU’s official statement criticising calls made by Home Secretary Theresa May non-EU international students to have to leave the UK following the conclusion of their studies. The statement described May’s ‘Send Home’ proposals as an “attempt to pander to pander to immigration scaremongers”.
Bhatti has received a Masters at Oxford in Management Research, a DPhil in Management Studies at Said Business School, and a Bachelors degree in Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He has previously served as President of Green Templeton GCR, and also ran for Presidency of Oxford’s Pakistan Society in 2012. In 2005-6, Bhatti was honoured by the Pakistani government for earthquake relief in Islamabad.
A by-election for the position of VP for Graduates will be held later in Hilary Term. Until a new Vice-President is elected by the graduate members of OUSU, the sabbatical officers have drawn up an interim plan to cover Yasser’s responsibilities.
James Blythe, VP for Access and Academic Affairs, Tweeted: “Deeply regret Yasser Bhatti’s resignation and wish him well for the future. We’ll be working to make sure no graduate issues get dropped now”.