A motion of no confidence in the Student Union’s Welfare and Equal Opportunities Officer has passed its first reading at the Student Council, with 25 votes in favour out of 36. If the motion passes its second reading in Seventh Week, a referendum of students would be called Ninth Week.
The motion argues that Keisha Asare caused “substantial disruption” in the Keble College community and acted “inappropriately” for one representing students at a university level. This comes after a series of essay-writing workshops Asare pledged in her manifesto to set up either did not go ahead, or were disrupted by her failure to send and respond to key emails.
Keble JCR voted to bring a motion of no confidence against Asare with 45 votes in favour, 5 abstentions, and no votes against. The President of Keble JCR, Thomas Morris, stressed to Cherwell that the motion was not intended to be a judgement on Asare specifically, but to make a broader point about expected conduct from Sabbatical Officers towards students. “We want to acknowledge with this motion the importance of the trust we put into Sabbatical Officers to support JCRs and represent them at a University level,” he added.
At the start of Michaelmas Term, Keble JCR accepted Asare’s pitch to trial a series of essay workshops intended to provide students with guidance about the standard of essays expected at Oxford. Four workshops were planned: two for students studying under the Humanities Division, one for medical students, and one for courses under the Medical, Physical, and Life Sciences (MLPS) Division. While Keble JCR booked the rooms and advertised the workshops, Asare was responsible for finding and preparing tutors for the workshops.
The motion says that Asare failed to share crucial information with tutors and the JCR, which disrupted the workshops. One of the humanities workshops was also nearly cancelled, as Asare did not send the necessary information to the required tutor. Asare did not tell the JCR that the tutor arranged to run the MLPS was unavailable, leading to the event not taking place at short notice. The tutor holding the medicine workshop dropped out and the motion says Asare did not send their replacement the slideshow needed to run the session.
Speaking at the Student Council meeting, Asare said that a personal emergency meant that she was taking time off work during this period. Because she had taken emergency leave, she said no arrangements had been made for someone to step in to work on her behalf.
Asare said that if students voted in favour of a motion of no confidence against her, she would be unable to complete a handover to her successor at the end of her tenure as she would no longer be employed by the SU. She also said that since the intention of the motion was to improve relationships between JCRs and Sabbatical Officers, there were other ways to achieve this than a vote of no confidence in her.
Keisha Asare has been approached for comment.