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BREAKING: Hassan Ali Disqualified from KCLSU Presidency

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Hassan Ali, who received the most votes in this year’s King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) Presidential Election, has been disqualified from taking office following a confidential process. His ineligibility relates to an issue of the breach of the Trustee Code of Conduct. 

The Returning Officer, a third-party actor responsible for overseeing KCLSU student elections and interpreting its by-laws, has officially removed Hassan Ali as an eligible candidate and barred him from holding the office of 2024/2025 KCLSU President. 

According to an email sent to the student body, while not publicly stated, his victory in March was not formally finalised because the Returning Officer did not close the election. Roar has been informed that this was due to ongoing internal procedures. Those procedures have now concluded and have resulted in his ineligibility to hold office.

In November 2023, along with two other Student Officers, Ali was suspended as KCLSU Vice-President (VP) of Welfare and Community after the three Officers posted a joint statement on social media criticising the Union for maintaining what they described as a “deafening silence” on the hostilities in Gaza. 

After a KCLSU official statement referencing ongoing confidential “governance policies and procedures” on 7 December regarding the Officers’ status, no public acknowledgement of the matter was made. 

With no word from the KCLSU that he was disqualified from standing, Ali launched a successful presidential campaign in obvious reaction to this controversy. On 15 March, the election results were announced, with Ali winning by a landslide of 1310.5 votes compared to 341 for the second-place candidate. 

No official statement has been made on the details or outcome of the internal procedures. On 9 May, internal KCLSU communications revealed that the three elected Student Officers would be “returning to work” in their 2023/2024 roles. Ali’s position for the following academic year remained unclear until his disqualification in July.

The Official KCLSU Statement reads as follows:

The Returning Officer for the KCLSU 2024/25 Elections has decided that Hassan Ali cannot take up office as the KCLSU 2024/25 President.

We are aware that results were published on 15 March indicating that Hassan Ali was elected as President and although not stated on the website, these were actually provisional and not final results because the Returning Officer had not formally closed the election, which they have now done.

  

On instruction of the Returning Officer, Hassan Ali has been removed as a candidate and a recount is being undertaken of the votes cast to determine who has been elected as the 2024/25 KCLSU President.

Hassan is expected to continue in his role as Vice President (Welfare & Community) until the end of his tenure at KCLSU on 31 July 2024.

We know that there will be strong feelings around this decision. We encourage people to respect the process and to refrain from taking part in or perpetuating any abuse, particularly online or on social media, towards anyone involved in this matter or associated with KCLSU.  

 

We will keep you [students] informed about the final outcome of this ongoing process, which we are now working to conclude as swiftly as possible.

KCLSU sent via email to all students on 10 July 2024

What Happens Next?

KCLSU by-law 2.13 stipulates that a KCLSU Trustee, which includes any elected Student Officer, deemed in violation of the Trustees’ Code of Conduct is not eligible to serve as a Trustee. This effectively constitutes removal from office and disqualification from campaigning in Student Union elections. 

Following Ali’s disqualification, the Returning Officer has called for an internal recount of the votes from March. According to the election process, the results of this recount will be emailed to the student body.  

The new winner will be given the opportunity to assume the office instead. If accepted, they would become the 2024/2025 President of the Student Union. If declined, the matter falls back on the KCLSU Trustees to either approach the next-in-line candidate or leave the office of KCLSU President vacant for the 2024/2025 academic year. A possibility could be that a Lead Trustee chairs KCLSU meetings as the other elected VPs continue with their briefs. 

This course of action was advised by the National Union of Students (NUS) based on precedent from student unions that have also had to replace ineligible Officers.

Ali has declined to provide a comment to Roar at this time. The KCLSU has been approached for comment.

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