Jewish student only person to speak out over Oxford Union manhandling blind student

Henry Hatwell was the only person to raise concerns during the event, and said that the Oxford Union President’s resignation was ‘no apology’


A Jewish student was the only person in the room to speak out at an Oxford Union debate where a blind BAME student was removed from the chamber by his ankles, an incident that caused a media storm.

Henry Hatwell raised a Point of Information during the ensuing debate about the manhandling for Ghanaian student Ebenezer Azamati – which has since led the resignation of the Union's president – and told the JC he was “gobsmacked that no one intervened.”

Recounting the incident – which he viewed from his vantage point on the balcony – Mr Hatwell said that a security guard hit Mr Azamati on the knee to get his attention. He then tried to pull Mr Azamati off the bench, but Mr Azamati held on.

Another guard attempted to speak to Mr Azamati, before they both dragged him out of the chamber by his ankles.

“I was just gobsmacked that no one intervened. The whole time while this was happening no one stepped in, no one tried to help,” Mr Hatwell said.

“People nearby did nothing. No one asked ‘are you ok?’, no one said ‘oh, can I help’. Everyone else just backed off.

“I just wonder where everyone’s sense of decent, normal values are.”

Mr Hatwell since tabled a motion to impeach Union President Brendan McGrath, which received more than 300 signatures – double the required number – before the President resigned later on Wednesday.

Mr McGrath intiailly claimed Mr Azamati had been violent but said when he resigned that he had "manifestly failed" in his duty to keep members safe.

However, Mr Hatwell said that the resignation letter by Mr McGrath was “no apology really”, and that the President and committee “mishandled the whole situation”.

Mr Hatwell is now part of a campaign calling for an independent investigation into what happened. He said the initial disciplinary hearing that stripped Mr Azamati of his membership was “tainted by the fact the hearing was led by the dinner guest, friend and adviser of the President.”

Mr Hatwell also said he was not invited as a witness to this hearing.

He added: “There’s no excuse saying that they didn’t know that I was there, that I saw it and that I had made a complaint about it. And I can only assume that because I made a complaint, they chose not ask me to give evidence.”

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