Queen’s College JCR President, Nathan Roberts, faces losing his position for a second time, it emerged this week.
After his forced resignation last term, and his subsequent re-election at the beginning of Hilary, Roberts faces a second removal after a decision made by Queen’s Governing Body, which has stated that it does not consider it appropriate for him to act as a representative for the JCR.
The college Provost, Paul Madden, emailed members of Queen’s JCR to tell them that he had advised Roberts before the more recent elections took place that he could be an “acceptable” candidate for the position this term.
This was on the provision “that his academic work, as reflected in tutorial reports and collection results, had improved to the extent that his Tutor could now advise him that this was a reasonable step.”
However, he added, “In the event, the tutor’s advice was that he should not stand. I told Mr. Roberts that he should withdraw his candidacy.”
“Unfortunately,” he went on, “the election was allowed to proceed with Mr. Roberts as the only named candidate and he was elected. The Governing Body has taken the view that it is not possible to accept as a student representative someone who has defied the instructions of its academic disciplinary committee, and the repeated advice of his Tutor and the head of the College.”
The Provost also pointed out that the Conference of Colleges Appeal Tribunal (CCAT), an external body of appeal, to which Roberts took his concerns in Michaelmas, had decided “it was within the power of the College to require the student to resign the Presidency of the JCR for reasons of academic discipline.”
Roberts has rejected the claim that his enforced removal was within the powers of the College. He told Cherwell, “The SCR can do a lot of things. They can’t just sack me.”
In an open response to the Queen’s College JCR, Roberts criticised the Provost’s opposition to his presidency.
He stated that they had come out in favour of four out of his five appeals, including the claims that the College were both at fault in threatening him with expulsion last summer for not resigning and for not allowing him a College appeal.
He claimed that he had “followed all the College and JCR rules”, and added, “I was given the impression that there would only be repercussions if my work this term proved to be poor…
“My academic situation has improved and there has been observation across my reports that I’m putting a lot more work i
n, despite an incredibly stressful Michaelmas term.”
University College JCR President Alice Heath expressed her disappointment at the Provost’s decision to send the email to the JCR: “I think it’s unprofessional and frankly outrageous that the Provost has brought up Nathan’s academic discipline in an email to the entire JCR.”
“An SCR has no right to tell a JCR who its President should be. JCRs choose a student to represent them.”
Roberts confirmed that he planned to challenge the Provost’s decision.
Roberts was first forced to resign as JCR President at the beginning of Michaelmas Term 2009, due to his failure to attain a 2.1 in his Prelims.
Following the rejection of his attempts to appeal to the Governing Body, Clumsy Teddy, a stuffed bear, was elected as his replacement. Roberts campaigned and husted on behalf of Clumsy Teddy.