By Jacob Winter, BA Politics and International Relations
The SOAS Students’ Union continues to face criticism over its failure to act upon allegations against the Co-President for Welfare and Campaigns – Sushant Singh. Following the 2023 Students’ Union Annual General Meeting (AGM), a motion was passed against Mr Singh that led to an independent investigation into these allegations, which has come back inconclusive. Following this, there was supposed to be a referendum in which students could vote to remove him simply based on there having been allegations made against him; a referendum which never occurred. This year, Mr Singh will either stand for re-election or will cease to be a Co-President, with no disciplinary action having been taken against him or the option for students to have him removed from his post.
During the Annual General Meeting on June 2nd 2023, a no-confidence motion was made against Mr Singh by Matthew Zimmer and Viktor Uteng da Silva. The reasons for the submission of the motion included sexual harassment allegations, failure to fulfil election pledges, and acting beyond one’s brief and public affiliations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Bharatiya Janata Party, commonly abbreviated to BJP, is a party that promotes Hindutva, a Hindu nationalist and notably Islamophobic ideology.
At the recent Suspended Students Spill the Tea event, where students who were falsely suspended over activism for Palestine spoke about their experience and their issues with both the university administration and the Student Union more broadly. The SOAS Solidarity Instagram page, known for its connection to both the students who put forward the motion to investigate Sushant but also had several of its own suspended in October, alleged that Sushant was a “puppet of [the] administration”, writing in the post’s caption: “Welfare and campaign support where?” ‘Welfare’ and ‘campaigns’ are meant to be the official briefs of Sushant as Co-President of the SU.