Published: 18th February 2021
After row over racist posts on social media, first Indian President of Oxford Student Union quits
The accusations were made after the President-elect Rashmi Samant's old social media posts reemerged and were branded 'racist' and 'insensitive'
Rashmi Samant, who recently made headlines by becoming the first Indian president of Oxford Student Union has stepped down following accusations of having made racist remarks. Samant, who is pursuing her MSc in Energy Systems won a landslide victory in the student union elections just last week.
The accusations were made after a few of her old social media posts reemerged and were branded 'racist' and 'insensitive'. The posts included a holocaust reference on a post about her visit to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in Germany in 2017 and another Instagram post on a trip to Malaysia which was captioned 'Ching Chang'.
The Oxford Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE) has condemned Samant's remarks. Samant has released an open letter of apology after the controversy in the student newspaper Cherwell. She said, "Though the recent developments might make it hard for you to believe the sincerity of my apologies, it deeply pained me to note that I have lost the trust that the student community reposed in me with their votes and belief in my manifesto owing to my mistakes. Regrettably, I alienated people within our wonderful student community to the extent that they deem me unfit to be the leader they rightfully deserve. I sincerely apologise to every student who has been hurt by my actions or words and seek a chance to gain your trust in me again."
However, as the controversy didn't subside, Samant believed it best to step down. She later put out a social media post saying, "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 statement was later published in ‘The Oxford Student’.
Officers of the Oxford Student Union also issued a statement apologising for the 'hurt and discomfort caused by the actions of the president-elect". They also said that the Oxford SU had a no tolerance policy towards discrimination and that racism, transphobia, and anti-semitism have no place in their organisation.
Now, a by-election will have to be held to elect a new President.