Rashmi Samant, president-elect of Oxford Student Union resigns after racist attacks and cyberbullying
Rashmi Samant, created history by becoming the first female Indian elect of Oxford University Student’s Union. However, she had to relinquished her post after being abused, bullied and cyberattacked for her old social media posts.
A weekly student newspaper published by Oxford, reported that Rashmi had commented on an image on Instagram of herself in Malaysia with the words “Ching Chang”, a pun involving the Holocaust. In another caption, Rashmi drew a comparison between Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony (present-day South Africa) Cecil Rhodes and Adolf Hitler in a Student Union presidential debate. Samant was also accused of separating ‘women’ and ‘transwomen’ in a caption.
The Oxford Student Union’s Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE) and the Oxford SU LGBTQ Campaign also criticised Ms Samant for her allegedly callous social media posts.
Amidst the barrage of attacks, constant hounding and mental torture, the President elect, Rashmi Samant resigned from her post.
Rashmi took to social media to put across her explanation for resignation. She wrote: “I stepped down because my values taught me to be ‘sensitive’. sensitive to the feelings of the people who reposed their faith in me, sensitive to my convictions that above all we need to respect fellow human beings, and sensitive to the welfare of the student community that deserves a working SU, and at the personal level, sensitive to the effects of cyberbullying that is targeted against me in the name of ‘sensitivity!”
In an interview with News 18, Samant said how the 5 years-old social media posts by her were used and mis-interpreted to malign her image. She further added, back then she was just a teenager who was learning and was yet to form convictions about certain issues. She told the News channel that captions touted to be racist and anti-semitic were made in pun and not with an intent to hurt others.
What seems appalling in this entire episode is a brazen attack on a young girl for her civilisation, religious beliefs, and family background by the former visiting fellow at Oxford. It’s unbecoming of a faculty to spew hatred on the pretext of his power and position.
Even though Rashmi has resigned and returned to her home, she is yet to recover from the abuses hurled at her and her family.