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Three King’s College London SU officers suspended for showing solidarity with Gaza

The officers claim they have been ‘singled out’ and received ‘verbal threats’

King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) has suspended three elected student officers after they released a statement expressing their support for Palestine.

Three of the officers from the six-person team at KCLSU collectively released their statement on Instagram showing their support for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The officers at KCLSU are elected to represent the interests of over 30,000 student members at the university and serve as trustees of the union.

The three elected officers that were suspended by KCLSU include: Hassan Ali, the vice president of welfare and community; Sadaf Abbas Cheema, the vice president for education in the arts and science; and Alizeh Abrar, the vice president for postgraduate students.

A statement from the above officers said they had faced “verbal threats” from senior managers at KCLSU and “scare tactics” to force them to take down their statement of solidarity for Palestine.

The trio’s statement said: “It is unfortunate that the irony of threatening three Muslim sabbatical officers with suspension for the ‘crime’ of standing for Palestinian human rights during Islamophobia awareness month has not dawned upon KCLSU’ senior leadership.

“The fact that scare tactics were the first recourse senior leadership took in response to our statement, which emphasised our worsening mental health struggles, points to the chilling disregard that the senior leadership harbours towards the mental health of its own elected representatives.”

Several staff members at KCLSU spoke to Middle East Eye (MEE) claiming that the officers had been “singled out” and “excluded” for attempting to request that the union issue a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

They also noted that the union had been “hypocritical” over its stance on Gaza despite showing its “support for Ukrainian and Russian students” after Russia had launched an invasion into Ukraine.

The King’s College London Students for Justice in Palestine (KCL SJP) have condemned the suspension and accused KCLSU of “harassing and intimidating” the union’s elected officers.

KCL SJP have said “the KCLSU president has shamefully failed to protect his own vice presidents and has remained complicit in this undemocratic action.”

This suspension comes weeks after an Israeli air strike killed Palestinian KCL alumnus and Chevening scholar Dr Maisara al-Rayyes, who died with his family while trapped under the rubble of his family home.

The university paid tribute to the former student and also planned to organise a memorial to his life and work.