Bahar Mustafa and Alex Etches, two full-time officers at Goldsmiths students’ union, have both stepped down following a series of high-profile resignations this week.
In a short statement released today, the students’ union confirmed it is “committed to a full and independent investigation into the the circumstances that have led to the resignation of the President and now to further resignations within the Officer team.”
The statement added: “[The SU] will issue a further statement about steps the Union will take to continue to provide for the representation and welfare of Goldsmiths students in due course.”
Mustafa is the students’ union’s welfare and diversity officer, while Etches is its campaigns and activities officer.
The students’ union president Adrihani Rashid, editor-in-chief of the Leopard, and it s comment editor all resigned on Tuesday as the students’ union announced it was launching an independent inquiry into “allegations of bullying and harassment” within the organisation.
A passage beneath Rashid’s resignation letter read: “The sabbatical officer team is aware of allegations of bullying and harassment. Goldsmiths students’ union takes these allegations very seriously, and having raised these issues with the Trustee Board, will be instigation an independent inquiry, to report back before Xmas. All four sabbatical officers are fully supportive of this process and we ask for students to respect this process.”
The nature of these allegations are as of yet unkonwn, however the Evening Standard reports that sources within the union claim Mustafa and Etches “created a hostile working environment” and undermined Rashid on numerous occasions.
Although Rahid stepped down on Tuesday, an email leaked to Smith Magazine, sent from the president in early November to “elected officers” reveals she initially planned to step down in January 2016.
The email, dated 5 November, reads: “I am very sorry I am unable to do this in person but I am writing to inform you that I am formally putting in my resignation as a Sabbatical Officer at Goldsmiths students’ union.
“I will be terminating my contract at Goldsmiths students’ union in January pending: [redacted].”
The online magazine reported on “repeated testimonies accusing the GSU of serious misconduct and power abuse along with on-going investigations.”
The only full-time officer who remains at Goldsmiths’ students’ union is the education officer Danny Nasr.
Today’s developments follows news earlier this week that Sabrina Sharif, the Leopard’s editor-in-chief, and Zak Thomas, its comment editor, both stepped down amid accusations the union was interfering with an investigation.
Both, however, have since resumed their roles within the newspaper after the students’ union apologised and wrote to them each guaranteeing the Leopard’s editorial independence.
Zak Thomas, the Leopard‘s comment editor and first to resign, revealed in an open letter that he had been “working on a story about high profile allegations against people within the SU.”
He wrote: “Not only was I asked to redact certain information, but when I sent the final article to be legally checked by the SU, which is the agreed process, I discovered the article had been shared amongst the people that were accused.
“I believe this was a serious breach of trust, and whilst the SU did not say I couldn’t publish the article, they did not sign it off legally as is the norm. Thus putting the legal burden on myself.”
Sharif similarly wrote in a short letter: ““I vowed that the Leopard would be a paper that would be fair, always hold he SU accountable and relay to students what is happening there. However, I have found these goals impossible to meet due to the lack of support from the SU.”
Mustafa told the Evening Standard: “I am resigning for the preservation of my mental and physical health. I am still committed to the independent investigation which I am confident will shed light on the structural issues that have led to the mental and physical breakdown of all sabbatical officers.”
The 28-year-old was recently arrested and charged for allegedly tweeting ‘#killallwhitmen’ although the charges were dropped the day before she was due in court due to a lack of evidence.
London Student has attempted to make contact with Goldsmiths’ students’ union