Oxford Union debate: Blind student 'violently' pulled from seat

Clay Curtis
November 20, 2019

When he returned later, accompanied by a friend and sat down, officials refused his attendance and were seen manhandling him out of his seat, reports Daily Mail. He was suspended from the Union for two terms.

Following the incident last month, Mr McGrath called a disciplinary committee, where it was alleged that Azamati had behaved aggressively and thrusted his arms out as he was being ejected from his seat.

Following the episode, OUAS told CNN that the Oxford Union banned Azamati from attending future debates until May 2020.

Video footage shared online showed an argument between security and Mr Azamati in the chamber before staff appeared to manhandle him.

Helen Mountfield QC, who represents Mr Azamati, said there were ongoing talks with the union over what steps it can take to address the "failings" exposed by the case.

That is whereas marketing campaign teams such because the Oxford College Africa society, have protested on his behalf.

Azamati has since said he feels "unwelcome" in Britain following the incident.

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Documentation from the hearing claimed that Mr Azamati became "now no longer violent but acted in apprehension.as a blind man who had been assaulted. and who feared being pulled to the ground".

Now, the union president, Brendan McGrath, is facing calls to resign while other senior university staff claimed the behaviour of the Oxford Union was hindering the institutions chances of attracting more ethnic minority and working class students.

A statement published today read: "We, the Sabbatical Officers of Oxford SU, condemn the actions of The Oxford Union regarding the treatment of one of our members, Ebenezer Azamati, and stand in solidarity with Mr Azamati, Oxford Africa Society and Oxford ACS".

However, in an appeal hearing, a witness said, "Thirty seconds after he [Azamati] sat down, the security guard came in". Five seconds afterwards, he started touching Azamati, who was holding on to the bench. Thirty seconds later they were pulling him by his ankles'. "I felt that I was treated as not being human enough to deserve justice and fair treatment", he told the Times. It added: 'A white blind man would not have been handled in the way he was.' On Saturday, it was proved that Mr. McGrath had withdrawn his charge of violent behavior against Mr. Azamati.

"Fundamentally, it is the president's job to ensure that every Member feels welcome at the Oxford union".

The Oxford Union is independent of the university and has a tradition of hosting debates and speakers stretching back to 1823. The university has no authority over its events'.

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