Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

SU blocks no confidence motion in SU President

The Oxford Student can exclusively reveal that Student Council’s  motion of no confidence in the SU President, Danial Hussain,  has been blocked by the SU due to “confidential employment issues.”

During Week 7 Student Council, the chair resigned because of the SU’s “disregard for democratic principles” as two motions of no-confidence, including one in Hussain, had been struck by the Trustee Board as they were relating to an “ongoing investigation.”

A procedural motion to hold an emergency meeting to discuss a motion of no confidence in Hussain was proposed during Student Council, and it was decided that the vote would be held online to ensure all delegates could vote and remain anonymous. 

The procedural motion passed overwhelmingly, with 33 in favour, 3 abstaining, and 3 against. Following this, a motion of no-confidence in Hussain was sent to the SU on March 1st.

The Student Union Trustee Board stated to The Oxford Student that it had “met on Monday 4th of March to discuss the motion wherein it was decided that the motion as it is written cannot go forward as it relates to confidential employment issues.”

“The Board has instructed the staff team to seek legal advice for appropriate guidance for submitting bodies on how an alternative VONC can be proposed.”

At the time of writing , the results of the W7 Student Council no longer appeared on the SU website, where all key Student Council documents (including agendas, minutes, and voting results) are supposed to be publicly available. 

The SU indicated that the minutes had been taken down following an edit request from a voting member regarding the minutes. At the time of writing, the minutes were still on the SU website, and it is the voting results that were missing, including the breakdown of the votes for the procedural motion against Hussain.

In an email to a proposer of the motion of no-confidence, SU CEO Nikki Smith clarified that the motion will not go forward as per article 23.3 of the SU’s Articles of Association: 

The Trustees have legal duties as company directors and Charity Trustees, which include ensuring that Oxford SU’s funds are used prudently for purposes within the Objects. If a decision is made […] by Student Council, which the Board reasonably considers incompatible with these duties (having sought advice where appropriate), it may be unable to implement or endorse the decision or advice, and at its discretion the Board may decline to do so […].

In the same email, Smith added “the timelines currently involved have not given the Board of Trustees sufficient time to make this judgement and seek appropriate advice on this matter.”

The Trustee Board is made up of all of the sabbatical officers, as well as student and external trustees. It is legally responsible for the SU, and as such has final say on what motions can be heard at Student Council.

The proposer of the motion commented: “This is an attack on democracy from the SU. Councillors voted overwhelmingly to have the right to speak on whether the President should remain in his post, and to deny this right is a frankly embarrassing demonstration of where power really lies at the “Student’s” Union.”

“Whether or not you believe that the President should stay, it is only right that the students who voted him in get to make that decision, not the partially-unelected trustee board.”

This story is developing and will be updated.

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

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