On Monday, 11th March, various societies at King’s gathered to protest outside Bush House South Wing. This protest was called the ‘Rally against harassment of WOMEN in KCLSU elections’ on Facebook, following the demonstration at the KCLSU Spring Election results three days prior.
The student turnout was comparatively smaller, considering the scale of the movement. A group of 22 students gathered outside Bush House, holding signs with statements such as ‘KCLS- Who do you represent?’, ‘Election Fraud’ and ‘not our KCLSU.’ They stood outside the building for half an hour, shouting slogans like “yes means yes and no means no” and “patriarchy has got to go!”
At one point during the demonstration, incumbent KCLSU President Ahad Mahmood passed by. He attempted to make conversation with the protestors, but they accused him of not doing his job, deeming him complicit in the suffering of female students. One of the main protestors exclaimed at the “audacity” he had to stand in front of them, increasingly shouting at the president until Mr Mahmood felt compelled to back away and watch from a distance.
After half an hour, the demonstration started to march towards the Student Union. They stood inside the Bush House South East Wing, continuing to shout their slogans. They marched to The Meadow, where students claimed they were “startled by the disruption,” following which they entered the Student Union offices, accusing them of allowing fraudulent electoral practices and not doing enough to protect women.
Hours after the demonstration ceased, memes could be seen taped to the windows of The Shack, highlighting KCLSU’s apparent lack of interest in protecting female students.
In conversation with Ahad Mahmood, Roar discovered that the KCLSU has put forth a motion to their Governance and Policy Committee regarding a review to make sure that all procedures were followed, to understand whether the electoral procedure was free and fair. The presence of an external investigator is vital because of SU members possessing conflict of interests.
Mr Mahmood said to Roar: “We are not just elected to be student representatives. We are elected to be part of an organisation that we have to run, so we have to follow procedure. We do not have the ability to overturn results as a trustee board.
“It’s not our judgement to make whether evidence is valid, because it has to go through a proper complaints procedure. Technically, until the process is concluded, this is just an investigation. Nothing has been proven.
“Students believe that we haven’t taken a strong enough stance, and it is their right to say and demand that out of us. All I can say is that we are doing our best to make sure that the elections are free and fair.
“If an election is unfair, it deserves to happen again. It is not my job to say that a re-election should happen because I can be personally conflicted.”
The KCLSU has taken a public stance condemning all forms of harassment, has claimed to be trying its best to make sure all complaints procedures are followed and that all disciplinary measures are taken if the allegations are proven to be true.