Swansea University have suspended their Students’ Union President Zahid Raja.
A statement released on April 10th from the University says that: ‘The trustee board has taken a decision to suspend the president pending the outcome of an investigation.
‘The suspension in this case is not a disciplinary act – it is a neutral act designed to protect him, and any complainant until the investigation has been completed.’
It goes on to add that they have advised the President not to communicate with students unless authorised to do so. The suspension comes in the wake of a student petition which called for a vote of no confidence in Mr Raja.
After serving a year as Education Officer, Mr Raja was elected in March 2013 after a landslide win with 77% of the vote. This made him Swansea University’s first black president in over two decades.
Raja had been the subject of a story in Aberystwyth Student Media in March that claimed the Swansea Students’ Union President was caught in an expenses scandal and that he was ‘under investigation.’ It claimed that Raja had falsely claimed expenses on a trip to London.
Raja defended himself from criticism by saying: “Much like in any other Students’ Union of our size, the President doesn’t seek permission to go to conferences [or] take students there if their interest is furthered, it benefits the student body. If this were the case, more than half of my time at work would be spent in red tape. I would question what political motivations lie beneath the Union now quizzing this single trip ahead of a FTO election where the candidate in question is not an incumbent. It smacks of double standards.”
It is not clear whether the official investigation is related to this.