The President of the Graduate Student Union (GSU) Zixiao Wang has resigned from Union Council in protest over a vote to among other things "recommend to the College that they take an active role in condemning the human rights violations against the Uyghur people, including through the release of a public statement of solidarity".
He spoke passionately in the lead up to the vote condemning the politicisation of Council that he said should not be a political body. He stressed that this vote would serve as a source of disunity and that Council should exclusively focus on matters that all students agree with.
The motion passed with 23 votes to 3 and afterward Wang announced that he would be resigning from the Council.
Having resigned Wang remained in the call but said that he would not be voting. When Felix spoke to him he said that he would not be resigning from this past-time paid GSU presidency as his vote of "70%" was enough of a mandate for his actions and that he would continue to advocate for postgraduate issues. He also criticised Council making the point that he was the only post-grad representative on the Council. There are in fact over 10 seats reserved for postgraduates and other positions are held by postgraduates. He told Felix afterwards that he would not be returning to Council but would send someone in his stead so that postgraduates would still be represented. Council Chair Alex Auyang has told Felix that this representative would not be eligible to vote.
He explained that Union Council was only a small part of his role and that the more important part of his role involved sitting on College and Department boards.
He stressed that his role was "to represent all students not to pick sides and that the Union's purpose was to fight for students' interests" rather than getting involved in politics which would only "divide our society". He has long campaigned for better conditions for students, raising the high cost of international student fees with Jeremy Corbyn and Alice Gast.
He explained that as Huawei's guilt was still a matter of controversy and while the BBC "reflected the Western view, ChinaDaily showed the other side" and was not "fake news". According to him, Imperial students study science and engineering so should keep their focus on science and engineering rather than politics. "We are a very diverse group at Imperial with lots of different backgrounds and opinions. We should be able to retain and respect different opinions while focussing on the things that we have in common such as improving the student experience".
An undergraduate FoNS representative expressed contempt at Zixiao's decision saying that being on Council was an essential part of the GSU presidency's role and that he role became hollow without the ability to advocate in Council.
Deputy President (Education) Michaela Flegrova said that she felt that should not be possible to resign part of your position but keep other parts. Union President Abhijay Sood told Felix that ""I'd echo Michaela's concerns and would like to talk this through with Zixiao at the earliest opportunity"
Long term Council member Ansh Bhatnagar has told Felix that he felt "This is a normal part of democracy and I wouldn't occupy a representative role I was no longer interested in doing in protest of losing a vote."