STUDENTS who complained about the behaviour of former Swansea University Students’ Union president Zahid Raja have had their complaints upheld.
Raja was suspended from his role on full pay without prejudice last April pending an independent investigation into the complaints.
A qualified solicitor and workplace mediator was commissioned by the students’ union trustee board to interview all complainants.
A formal disciplinary hearing then took place on 10 December last year, which Raja declined to attend.
Students who logged concerns have now received letters telling them that the investigator’s report “concluded that, on balance, the bulk of the complaints were justified – including financial irregularity, undue exercise of presidential influence, intimidation and harassment.”
The report concluded: “None of the (9) complainants or witnesses felt that Mr Raja should remain in his role as president of the union. All felt that his actions and behaviour were incompatible with this role and the evidence taken as a whole tends to support this view.”
The letter goes on to say: “Had the report been available, and this hearing taken place (which unfortunately was materially impossible) during his term of office, the committee concluded that Mr Raja should have been summarily dismissed from his role of president. Mr Raja has not appealed this decision (which would have been his right).”
The disciplinary committee was chaired by Mr Julian Smith, who is independently appointed by Swansea University’s governing council as chair of the Swansea University Students’ Union audit committee.
Zahid Raja was elected to the full-time officer position of president in 2013 after serving a one-year term as education officer.
His suspension came after students launched a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in him.
One of the complainants against Raja said: “It’s disappointing that it has taken so long for Raja to finally be held to account. Students tried to vote him out and he launched a bullying campaign against anyone who didn’t do it his way. This report is little comfort to those people who suffered day-after-day for nearly nine months before he was finally suspended.”
Zahid Raja had not responded to a request for a response at the time of going to press.