The president of Goldsmiths Student Union and the two senior editors of the university’s student newspaper have all resigned following a dispute involving allegations of bullying among the Student’s Union leadership.
The Students Union has now launched an inquiry into the bullying and harrassment allegations, which has been supported by Goldsmiths itself, although the SU and the Leopard, which the SU funds, are run independently of the college.
Adrihani Rashid, elected president of the SU since the summer resigned yesterday saying it was “due to personal reasons”. She is believed to be returning to her home in Malaysia, having already graduated.
She was one of four ‘Sabbatical Officers’ who are paid by the SU. In the wake of her resignation, the remaining Sabbatical Officers said in a statement that the SU takes the allegations very seriously and “will be instigating an independent inquiry”.
The full statement reads: ”The Sabbatical Officer team is aware of allegations of bullying and harassment. Goldsmiths Students’ Union takes these allegations very seriously, and having raised these with the Trustee Board, will be instigating an independent inquiry, to report back before Xmas. All four sabbatical Officers are fully supportive of this process and we ask for students to respect this process.
The remaining Sabbatical Officers are Bahar Mustafa, the controversial welfare and diversity officer at the centre of the recent #killallwhitemen controversy, Alex Etches, the campaigns officer and Daniel Nasr, the education officer.
The second resignation was that of Zak Thomas, the comment editor of The Leopard, who said it was due to a “serious breach of trust” in a statement published on The Leopard website.
It is understood that Thomas was writing a story involving allegations of bullying among the Sabbatical Officers in the SU but was asked to “redact certain information” and discovered the article had been shared among the people who were accused. According to Thomas, the SU also did not sign the article off “legally” as expected, putting the legal burden on him. Nothing was published.
Editor-in-Chief, Sabrina Sharif, also resigned, saying in another statement on the website: “I vowed that The Leopard would be a paper that would be fair, always hold the SU accountable and relay to students what is happening there. However, I have found these goals impossible to meet due to the lack of support from the SU.”
Mustafa was due to appear in court earlier this month for allegedly using the hashtag #killallwhitemen. However, the charges against her were dropped at the last minute due to insufficient evidence.
Goldsmiths, which has previously declined to become involved in internal SU affairs, said in a statement: “We fully support the Goldsmiths Students’ Union’s decision to launch a thorough and independent investigation of allegations and want to see this take place as soon as possible.”
“We’re also pressing for interim arrangements to be put in place following the President’s resignation…. “
“We’ve enjoyed working with Adrihani …she’s a fantastic ambassador for Goldsmiths and for International Students and we wish her well for the future.”
The SU said it did not want to comment further.
The National Union of Journalists, of which Thomas is a member, did not want to comment on legal matters involving specific members.
Follow Anja Krogstad on Twitter: @anjajebe