Union Librarian, Disha Hegde, faces auto-resignation due to missing multiple Access Committee meetings.
The process is similar to what was seen in Michaelmas when Union President Ahmad Nawaz was forced out after missing four Access Committee meetings. Nawaz had claimed he missed the meetings due to illness, but the committee voted against excusing his absences.
Under Rule 23(e)(ii)(1) in the Oxford Union Rules and Standing Orders, “Any Member of any Committee absent without good reason from three Ordinary Meetings during Full Term of that Committee in the same term shall be deemed to have resigned from that Committee, and if they be a Junior Officer, from their Office”. However, the Librarian is not normally required to attend Access Committee.
In an email sent to Standing Committee, Hegde explained that after suffering serious injuries including broken bones, she was left unable to attend. Since she believed she was under no obligation to attend as Librarian, she didn’t pass her absence.
However, it is believed that the Access Committee meetings that Hegde missed took place before her injuries, casting into doubt the validity of this claim.
The Union’s Returning Officer will make a ruling on Hedge’s auto-resignation based on the Union’s 196 page Rules and Standing orders. If the decision goes against Hegde, she has indicated in her email that she may turn to a disciplinary body with the power to overturn the ruling if they believe it to be an abuse of power.
The position of Librarian, effectively the Union’s vice-president, will be filled according to the President, Charlie Mackintosh, and the hierarchy of positions within the Union if Hegde is auto-resigned.
Hegde had been thought to be a front-running candidate for this term’s presidential elections. In her email to Standing Committee, she said that she still intends to run, although it is unclear whether this will affect her chances.
A former member of Access Committee said that Hegde’s failure to attend the meetings was “a case of incompetence” rather than “wilful neglect”, adding that although “it is a bit of a silly rule” it was “a silly mistake to make on Dishas [sic] part.”
However, they also said that the auto-resignation was “a bit of a technicality” as “the librarian is not typically required to attend access committee”.