Current Affairs

EXCLUSIVE: Impeachment motion brought against Oxford Union President and Librarian

A motion to impeach the sitting President and Librarian of the Oxford Union has been put forward to the Returning Officer by an ex-Committee member, The Oxford Blue can exclusively reveal. 

The development comes hours after The Blue reported that Thames Valley Police investigated allegations of a party held on Union premises in December that would have breached Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions and was reportedly attended by Union President James Price and Librarian Chengkai Xie.

The reasons given for the proposed impeachment include the attendance and denial of a “potentially unlawful party”, involvement in putting together a termcard “plagued by accusations of transphobia”, and for “feeding into a spirit of nepotism” by not interviewing all of the Appointed Committee candidates prior to giving them a position on committee. The email explains that 150 signatures are required in order for the motion to be voted on. The final result will likely be made public by this weekend if the signatures are obtained.

The first motion aims to impeach the President on the following grounds:

  1. The President was in attendance of a party within the Oxford Union building on the 11th December 2020. This was irresponsible in light of the pandemic, something which all members are feeling the effects of. 
  1. The President has continued to deny that a party took place in spite of evidence proving otherwise, and at the detriment of the personal reputation of former officers.
  1. The President has overseen a disappointing term card plagued by accusations of transphobia, which has left many members feeling alienated and hurt.
  1. The President did not interview potential applicants for the Appointed Committee, and this was then delegated to the Librarian who then did not interview all of them.

The motion for impeaching the Librarian follows similarly:

  1. “The Librarian was in attendance of a party within the Oxford Union building on the 11th December 2020. This was irresponsible in light of the pandemic, something which all members are feeling the effects of. The Librarian later posted an image to social media, from the 11th December 2020, of the President-Elect helping an unknown person vomit in front of the Treasurer’s office.”
  1. “The Librarian has been intimately involved in a disappointing termcard plagued by accusations of transphobia, which has left many members feeling alienated and hurt.”
  1. The Librarian did not interview all potential applicants for Appointed Committee, feeding into a spirit of nepotism that is remiss of a society that serves the members rather than those in power.

The last time that there was a motion to impeach an Oxford Union president was in Michaelmas term 2019 over the treatment of Ebenezer Azamati. The then-President Brendan McGrath resigned as soon shortly after the motion reached 150 signatures and was to be put to a vote.

The Oxford Union has been contacted for comment.

Anvee Bhutani is the former Managing Director of The Oxford Blue, having also held a variety of roles on the editorial and business teams. She is a penultimate year student at Magdalen College reading Human Sciences and is originally from San Francisco, California. To reach out to her, please email [email protected]