An email has been sent to several members of Constantine College encouraging them to sign a vote of no confidence against Usman Khan, the College’s current President.
The email, dated 13 March, argues that Khan “has no understanding of his role” and “fails to drive the committee into the right direction”.
It contains a link to a YouTube video of Khan’s Presidential Hour initiative, which allows students to ask questions about the Constantine Student Association Committee’s work, provide feedback and make suggestions.
The email critiques the video, suggesting “nothing much has come out of [Presidential Hour]” and adding comments such as “We are seen as a joke throughout the University”.
The writer of the email also suggests it is a “waste of the committees [sic] time, energy and money to be concerned with issues that do not fall within our remit”, using discussions relating to mail and “the issue surrounding ‘trash’” as examples.
The email claims that the crew behind the video were laughing at Khan, saying: “You can tell through the filming that they’re making jokes of him.”
However, Alex Lines, who filmed the video, told Nouse: “I was really unhappy to hear that the banter I was having with Usman during the filming had been used to further [the sender of the email’s] agenda. I’m good friends with Usman and the last thing I wanted was for him to think I’m messing with him – let alone be portrayed as this villain cackling away behind my camera.”
The email contains a link to a Google Form allowing students to support a vote of no confidence anonymously. It ends: “If you, like me, are passionate for Constantine to be the best it can, vote for this motion. Please forward this email on.”
Khan confronted the issue on Facebook, writing that he will be holding a meeting on Wednesday 15 April at 8pm in The Forum to discuss the matter. He added that the meeting will “go to show whether we let political scheming go ahead or have students as the Committee’s boss and accountability to you being the Committee’s primary focus.”
Khan gained support from several students after posting his status. Alex Byron, President of Langwith College, wrote: “Anyone who considers Constantine the ‘laughing stock of the Colleges’ clearly doesn’t run within the circles they claim to be part of. I can tell you now none of the College Chairs/ Presidents see it this way. It’s been a pleasure to work with him.
“There should always be room for scrutiny from students, but what they seem to say lacks any form of respect for him not only as President but also as a person.”
However, other students have come out in support of the vote of no confidence. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Nouse: “’In a democratic student community, those who wish to hold a committee member to account should be able to do so … The points discussed [in the email] are valid, and supported with evidence. Of course, some people will not agree with these points raised, but naturally others will.”
The student said it was “unfair” that the contents of the email had been shared, saying: “That email was sent to a select few people, as a private communication.” They added: “Whilst people are entitled to their views, it is complete double standards to suggest the email is sly and underhand, with a personal attack upon the subject, when those commenting [on Khan’s status] are doing the exact same to the sender.”
Khan told Nouse: “It is my aim for Constantine College to provide a supportive and inspirational college environment … I have been working with my committee to ensure that these goals are realised while everyone in the College and within the committee are happy and enjoying their experience of representing students .. [The] recent call for a vote of no confidence is … surprising as no coherent reason for the actions have been provided.
“I am hoping committee members realise their responsibility of representing students, being accountable to them and continue to work in their best interest, enabling Constantine College to run smoothly and successfully.”