Ebenezer Azamati, a Black Oxford University PhD student from Ghana who is also blind, says he feels “unwelcome” in Britain after he was reportedly removed from the audience of a debate by his ankles.
The incident, which was captured on video, shows the 25-year-old being removed from the event after he sat down at a seat he reportedly reserved. According to The Independent, Azamati arrived early to the debate to reserve a seat as he was worried there would be no special provisions for disabled students.
After returning from dinner, Azamati was denied entry to the debate, but he attempted to sit at his reserved seat anyway. Security officials then entered the room and manhandled him out of the building.
The Sunday Times reports that Brendan McGrath, president of the Oxford Union, later called a disciplinary committee meeting, alleging that Azamati behaved in a violent manner during the incident.
“I felt that I was treated as not being human enough to deserve justice and fair treatment,” Mr Azamati told the Times.
The Oxford University Africa Society (OUAS) is describing the incident as “violent, unjust, inhumane and shameful.” They’ve also launched a petition, which is currently signed by hundreds, calling for Mr MrGrath to resign.
On Saturday (September 16), the appeal hearing heard evidence from Henry Hatwell, a student who witnessed Azamati’s removal from the debate.
“Thirty seconds after he [Azamati] sat down, the security guard came in. Five seconds afterwards, he started touching Azamati, who was holding on to the bench, Hatwell said. “Thirty seconds later, they were dragging him by his ankles.”
During that same day, the Oxford Union and McGrath reportedly withdrew the violent misconduct charge against Azamati.
In a statement, the Union said: “We apologised unreservedly to Mr Azamati for the distress and any reputational damage which the publication of the incident may have caused.
“We are in ongoing discussions with Mr Azamati in order to pursue a solution agreeable to all parties, which addresses the structural issues raised. We do not wish to prejudice those discussions with further comment at this time.”
Watch shocking video of the incident below.