Blind Ghanaian student wins payout for ejection from Oxford debate

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Ebenezer Azamati has won compensation after being removed from the Oxford Union debating society (Picture: Facebook/Oxford University Africa Society)

Ebenezer Azamati, a blind postgraduate from Ghana studying international relations at the University of Oxford has been compensated with thousands of pounds after his public humiliation by the Oxford Union.

Azamati who is a former student of the University of Ghana was man-handled, muscled and assaulted by Oxford University security at one of the University’s debates event. He was also ‘dragged out’ and prevented from re-entering the debating chamber.

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A video capturing the incident sparked public outrage, with some students among the African student community on campus, protesting the act.

Ex-president of the Union, Brandan McGrath, who was absent at the event that evening banned Mr Azamati for two terms, upon claims that he was sacked because of his aggressive behaviour.

A statement from the union, which is independent of the university, apologized days after the unfortunate incident, for the ‘distress’ and ‘reputational damage’.

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But reports from dailymail.co.uk indicate that the Union has made another public statement. This time, their words were;

“Ebenezer Azamati, a member of the Oxford Union, sought to attend one of its debates. Mr Azamati is blind and Black. Mr Azamati was initially turned away. He was subsequently admitted but then steps were taken to remove him by force. He eventually left voluntarily. Shortly afterwards, disciplinary proceedings were wrongly brought against Mr Azamati alleging violence and dishonesty.”

Per the public statement, initial allegations and findings against him have been made public with all allegations withdrawn on appeal and any wrongdoings cleared.

It further indicated that the Union has accepted allegations of dishonesty and violence made against Mr. Azamati, which have caused acute distress to him and serious harm to his reputation.

“We accept that those allegations are wholly unfounded and untrue, and we apologise for making the statements that contained them,” portions of the statement, according to dailymail.co.uk said.

Background:

Ebenezer Azamati who is a former student of the University of Ghana and was reportedly an active player in Legon student governance activities in 2014, 2015-2016 academic years. He gained admission to Oxford University in 2019 to read his MPhil.

The 25-year-old who reportedly was an active participant in the Oxford Union debates had arrived early at the event on October 17 to reserve a seat, with concerns that there were no special provisions for disabled students.

He placed a book on an accessible seat near the entrance to the chamber to reserve it and went back to his college for dinner.

Officials, however, refused his attendance when he returned later, accompanied by a friend and sat down.

He was captured in a video being manhandled out of his seat, whilst he struggled with his white cane.

Mr Azamati, who was disturbed by the situation said he ‘felt’ unwelcome in Britain following the incident.

He said at the time: ‘In being publicly removed from the Oxford Union Society made me feel unwelcome in the Union, Oxford and even the country.

‘I felt that I was treated as not being human enough to deserve justice and fair treatment.’

About a month after, Jeremy Bararia, the only black member of the union’s governing body, stepped down and joined calls for the resignation of the society’s president, who at first accused Mr. Azamati of violent misconduct before dropping his complaint and apologizing weeks later.


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