Medwards’ JCR has released a statement condemning their college president for her response to the recent Oxfam allegations.
Stocking has been accused of covering up sexual exploitation by Oxfam employees in Haiti whilst she was the CEO of Oxfam. The JCR has expressed their dismay that the college so quickly supported Stocking and implied to the national press that the student body was also universally supportive.
The statement has been released following an open meeting with student body held on 13th February to discuss the allegations in which, ‘Dame Barbara Stocking spoke about sexual exploitation in a dismissive manner, presenting it as an inevitability in a “disaster zone”’. As a result, the JCR has argued that her conduct and attitude towards sexual assault is an ‘affront’ to the survivors and victims of sexual assault in college. Concerns have consequently been raised about the ability of staff responsible for student welfare to maintain a trusting relationship with students whilst they continue to stand by Stocking as the President of the college.
The JCR also outlines how Stocking’s recent behaviour has alienated BME students, pointing to her use of racially charged language in her construction of Haiti as an uncivilised nation and her statement that ‘these things happen’ in places ‘where there is no rule of law’. Concerns over the colonialist character of these statements have arisen and the JCR contends that Stocking effectively moved ‘the burden of responsibility for sexual exploitation away from its white western perpetrators’.
BME students at Medwards have contacted the JCR to express their distress at Stocking’s statements, highlighting an ‘ongoing problem of racist microaggressions experienced by students in encounters with Dame Barbara Stocking over several years’.
The JCR statement calls for a conversation about how race affects student experiences and demands that the college confirms its dedication to taking sexual assault seriously. The JCR has also asked for an apology from college for their support of Stocking and calls into question Stocking’s suitability for the role of President in light of their concerns.