Ex-Presidents clash before panel

first_imgJames Kingston, who was President in Michaelmas 2010, claimed that his successor James Langman was guilty of “action that was liable or calculated to bring the Society into disrepute” and “abuse of office with the intention of financially or materially benefitting the offender”.This was in regard to Langman’s response to Kingston’s cancellation of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaska in Michaelmas 2010.The Union released a statement at the time, explaining that the Sri Lankan President was cancelled due to security concerns and the “sheer scale of the expected protests”.Langman allegedly then travelled to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London to apologise in person for the decision, extending an invitation for Rajapaksa to speak just a few days later, during his term as President.Kingston, who had a finals exam in the afternoon, was not present at the hearing, and said he was “extremely unhappy” with the outcome.“There has been a clear breach of natural justice in that neither I nor my witnesses were able to attend during exams”, Kingston said.The panel decided that Langman had “no case to answer” in Kingston’s claims.Sidders, who also organised the SDC hearing noted that complaints need to be heard within 28 days of being passed. She noted that Kingston had plenty of time to lodge a complaint without clashing his commitment to exams.In a separate case, the SDC meeting cleared Hasan Ali and condemned accusations against him as “frivolous”.Ali faced a vote of no confidence from fellow Standing Committee members in Hilary term for failing to host a guest speaker, and for providing “conflicting, contradictory and incompatible explanations of this failure to complete his official duties”.Seeking to recoup some of the cost of the hearing, the panel fined ex-President Laura Winwood, and James Freeland £40 each. Ash Thomas, who was not present at the hearings, also received an £80 fine.The Union said that Winwood and Freeland were fined less “in view of their candour and cooperation with the proceedings”. Thomas slammed the panel’s findings as “totally unjustified”.Ali was initially condemned for “failure” to host a guest speaker and providing “conflicting, contradictory and incompatible explanations of this failure to complete his official duties” in a series of extraordinary meetings, held by the Standing Committee of the Union in 7th Week last term.At that time Ali was running for President in Michaelmas 2011, although he later lost to Izzy Westbury in elections that were held on the Friday of 7th Week.In a statement released by the Union, Ali said he was “relieved” by the committee’s findings.However, he added, “It just worries me – and it should worry every member of the Union – that elections are no longer conducted on merit, rather, on the basis of who can smear whom the most in the student press.”last_img