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Fired: King's President Removed by College

Oct 20 2008 13:33
Ashley Brown
The King's President, Chris Mullan, claims to have been sacked - but not by the students' union, by the College.
No longer the President of King's

The ongoing saga of King's President Chris Mullan took a new twist last week, as he was apparently removed from his post by King's College London. Mullan, elected with 648 votes, appears to have been dismissed outside the KCLSU disciplinary procedure. The trustee board - made up of eight students (including the sabbatical team) and four non-students - were considering whether he had broken the trustee Code of Conduct and should subsequently be removed from his post. The Afro-Caribbean Society were also planning to bring a no-confidence via a petition for a general meeting if the trustee board did not remove him. A petition is circulating, although ACS claims it is not their petition - there have been allegations of people being bullied into signing it.

Mr Mullan has told Live! that he has effectively been dismissed by the College, rather than the Students' Union, something which will cause alarm to those who support students' rights to choose their own President. It is believed that the King's College London communications department had a hand in the pressure to remove Mullan, following unfavourable press coverage (which ultimately proved to be mostly a fabrication).

Although many of those who thought Mr Mullan should be removed are strong supporters of student democracy, they have as yet shown no objections to the manner in which he was removed. King's students will not now get a chance to hear their President defend himself, nor to decide for themselves if he is fit to continue in his role.

The original complaint which sparked Mr Mullan's problems was not upheld by the NUS, however this has not been accepted by the NUS Black Students' Officer or other protest groups. A recent debate on free education at SOAS saw protesters disrupt the event and demand the resignation of NUS President Wes Streeting, for overseeing 'institutional racism' by concluding that the (former) King's President was not a racist.

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Discussion about “Fired: King's President Removed by College”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Oct 20 2008 17:39

f**king stupid

Oct 20 2008 18:20

Tut tut, Live! You lot really have too much time on your hands or standards are declining at a rapid rate.

Two main points:

Firstly, if Chris is to be removed or reinstated it is done via a separate commitee, made up of various members, i.e. not the Trustee board as such. It is akin to an employment tribunal, if my understanding is correct. ( explains it better)

Secondly, your criticis of King's students is plain idiotic. We are all in favour of democracy, but there is a process and at KCLSU it works in this way, via the employment tribunal. If students were unhappy with the outcome of the tribunal they have other ways of holding their officers to account. What baffels me is that you assume that there should be some kind of outcry before a decision has been officially made!

A statement will be released in the next week or two which will give us an ACCURATE answer as to what Chris' status is, and the future of the KCLSU Presidency for this academic year.

NB - Chris has, over this period, made statements (including facebook) setting out his point of view. He can always and I am sure will put out a new one when KCLSU gives its official verdict. It is a joke that Live! is implying that somehow King's students have censored Chris - like that would ever be possible!

Oct 20 2008 18:22

Clarification - the last line of this article, is again, factually incorrect. Were you even at that meeting at SOAS? They stated categorically that they felt strongly that not only Chris, but Craig and Wes were racist. Or rather, that Wes was not taking said racism seriously.

Oct 20 2008 19:07

Are you not just confirming what this says? Where does it criticise King's students? The process at KCLSU may well be an employment tribunal, and the fact that it hasn't been 'officially' decided just reinforces the key point behind the article - that the COLLEGE has told Chris to sling his hook. Not the SU, the COLLEGE. Think about the ramifications of that for a while. There should be an outcry precisely BECAUSE a decision has not been made (by the SU, at least).

My information was that the protesters were upset with Wes because they perceived the NUS 'top dogs' to be racist because they cleared Chris - i.e. that it was institutionally racist. That's what the article says is it not? Doesn't that agree with your correction?

Or have I missed something...

The fact that I believe your trustee board set-up is broken (8 students and 4 outsiders can remove a sabb without any other students getting a say!) is beside the point, and isn't mentioned within the article.

Oct 20 2008 20:02

Until you have actual basis for your accusation, nothing in this article is worth reading.

If we give you the benefit of the doubt we could say that College MAY be putting pressure on KCLSU to fire Chris, but it is the EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL (made up of trustees, staff and others) who are the *only*, I repeat, *only* ones who can sack Chris. (first. obvs students can too.)

So show me the evidence baby..

Oct 20 2008 20:31

On another note, why should an employment tribunal be able to remove him? Surely the students should do it (I doubt students make a significant majority on it) in a transparent manner?

7. RT   
Oct 20 2008 23:57

Why does Mullan believe he has: "effectively been dismissed by the College" ?

The article doesn't answer this key question.

Oct 21 2008 09:18

I'm confused (easily done)...

Chris has been dismissed. He is no longer King's President. He's not even at King's anymore. He's enrolled on a course elsewhere and is currently unemployed. This is information that Live! has received straight from the horses mouth.

Beheshteh says College 'may' be putting pressure on KCLSU to fire Chris. Presumably then if you are not talking in past tense you don't know that your President has already been fired?

If this is the case, maybe this article is worth reading. I am very concerned that Live! knows more about the situation than King's students do. Either that or the story has got very twisted somewhere.

Oct 21 2008 09:49

Hint to new readers: sometimes when people refuse to talk, Live! publishes as much as it knows in order to expedite the process of getting more information, particularly if the information we already know might prove to be important. You can normally tell when these come up because you're left going "hang on a minute", just like Beheshteh and RT.

Disclaimer: Chris is (just about) talking. No-one else is. The King's disciplinary process takes place without transparency behind closed doors. I have never considered silence on the part of one party a reason to not tell the story of the other party.

I should have made that more clear.

10. moo   
Oct 21 2008 12:34

Whoever is responsible for Mullans dismissal is the biggest idiot in the world!! They sacked someone on the basis that he might have said something racist which was then in fact cleared...... Kings has seriously let down its students!!!

Oct 22 2008 01:41

Point of correction: I am not a committee member of the ACS but as far as I am aware the ACS simply stated in an open forum (in response to a question about possible further steps) that if AFTER the conclusion of the investigation by KCLSU, Chris Mullan remained in office then a vote of no confidence would be the next step.

However the KCLSU investigation has not officially concluded yet and further more no petition has been presented to the student body at large from the ACS. Therefore I implore you to clarify your reportings about the ACS before you publish it as it untrue at the moment. Please contact the president of the KCL ACS for further clarification.

Right now, until something is released officially then it is hard for everybody to make a comment. We are all pretty much waiting for KCLSU to make their final updated statement.

Oct 22 2008 01:52

Another point: In terms of King's 'not showing any concern so far' I think that's because the student body have not received any form of statement from KCLSU or KCL so most people are not aware of any decisions being made. We are all waiting for some kind of statement and conclusion to the investigation.

Oct 22 2008 11:51

Info from London Student, who have managed to get some more details:

KCLSU are still refusing to comment.


"Chris Mullan has been dismissed from his post as President of KCLSU by a three-man disciplinary panel - an action that may go against the Union?s own governing document. The disciplinary panel consisted of a trustee, Union Chief Executive Steve Vaid, and King?s College academic registrar Brian Salter."

In other words, President dismissed by a member of union staff, a member of college staff and a trustee along for the ride.

In response to Valerie: I know the petition has been circulating, because I've had people tell me they felt obliged to sign it due to the conditions under which it was presented to them.

All evidence indicates that the KCLSU investigation has concluded - perhaps you should ask your Chief Executive why KCLSU is refusing to tell students what is happening to their President.

Oct 22 2008 19:24

can I be cynical and just laugh??

Chris should learn to shut up. if he believes in KCLSU and what he signed up for - he's abide by the confidentiality guidelines that KCLSU are - i.e. that until an official statement is made by the trustees, they wont comment. I don't see what's wrong with that. Chris needs to learn, that while he's almost certainly not a racist (that's a personal opinion - and i don't even like the guy - don't shoot me for that) he needs to learn to shut up when its appropriate to do so. He cant play the reactionary role that he has plagued KCLSU with for the past three years...

And Valerie is spot on - ACS has taken no actuiion other than to be iunvolved at the open forum - nothing more, nothing less.

Anyway I'll shed no tears for him!!

Oct 23 2008 00:15

Ashley: Just because a petition has been circulating that does not mean it is an official petition from the ACS. That implication in your article is incorrect and it needs to be retracted.

As I said before, if you want any more information about what action, if any, has been taken by the ACS please contact the president.

Oct 23 2008 00:27

Why do things like this always kick off after I leave...

Oct 23 2008 12:59

because you kept them (/ us...'-ish') in line bystander :)

Ashley: tis not the CEO's job to release the statement but the trustee board to announce it - it's up to them.... they are dithering!!

Oct 23 2008 13:03

Perhaps certain communication dept. should try and put a stop to this article too if most posters here are so keen on being silent on the real issue and passing the buck.

Oct 23 2008 13:28

I've clarified the line about the petition as it wasn't really important.

The King's trustees have finally released a statement (a week later) which says that they aren't going to say anything, but Chris has appealed the decision of the disciplinary panel (which London Student claims was made of two members of staff and a trustee).

I'm not planning on covering this story any more, as London Student is up and running on the web this year and has much better access to information than I do. It has also become apparent that students at King's don't care if their union behaves transparently or not, so there's very little point reporting on it for their sakes.

For those that do care: look at your governance reforms and see if that's really how you want your student union to run. Who should have a say on whether the union president stays or goes? The students that elected him/her, or members of college and union staff?

Oct 23 2008 14:06

FYI, for those who want to know what the appeals procedure is (rather than to mindlessly speculate):

Oct 23 2008 14:55

For the final time: King's students do care.

We'll be able to comment more and take action (if needs be) when we find out the results of the appeal.

Oct 23 2008 15:12

Isn't the point that the procedure looks to be highly suspect? There's a mentality of 'we must follow the procedure' when the procedure seems to be broken...

Oct 23 2008 15:58

in what way is it 'broken'?

this is a standard, fair employment procedure, with set procedures that make sense and are well set out.

at the conclusion, the tribunal produces a full statement / report (and, via the trustees, have released several intermediate ones that keep people informed and set realistic outcomes of their timelines), they abide by codes of confidentiality. what more would you want??

Oct 23 2008 16:32

Here's what I want:


Oct 23 2008 17:23

600 students vote to elect their union president, whose purpose is to defend students rights against the college. The 'chief executive' (general manager), a member of college staff and a trustee (who may not even be a student) can then remove that union president.

Surely, if students elect them, only students should be able to remove them. As right wing as us Imperial students might be, this is taking it too far. Why is your president dealt with under employment procedures? He should be accountable to the student body, not the trustees.

Your democracy is broken.

Oct 23 2008 20:33

is it only the voters who can remove the president of the united states or our prime minister? no, in every elected position, people other than those who voted the person in, can remove them from their job

there needs to be a mechanism that doesn't include the electors because otherwise it would require constant electioning to decide whether somebody stays in their job.

Oct 23 2008 21:50

Would you allow the head of the UK civil service (KCLSU chief exec), the prime minister of France (college staff) and the chancellor of the exchequer (trustee) to sit in a room and decide if the Prime Minister of the UK (KCLSU President) should continue in his or her job, or should be sacked?

No. The House of Commons - i.e. elected representatives of the people - decide via a vote of no confidence. This is why you allow a student council of some sort to do it (or a general meeting of course). Only one of the people on the disciplinary panel would have been elected by students. The student voice would not be in the majority.

Oct 23 2008 22:23

Without even a free press, the students of King's are none the wiser over this debacle! Live - keep it up!!

Oct 23 2008 22:43

Isn't Roar 'free press', or is that hobbled before it goes out?

30. Dafydd   
Oct 24 2008 00:58

R.O.A.R. is and always has been a pile of s**te!! King's Bench is the only truly independent free press at the university - as it's out of KCL and KCLSU's control - (but 'technically', King's bench is free, 'unhobbled', press).

And a member of college staff is hardly akin to the PM of France... (though i'd probably trust the French PM more than KCL staff)!!

Oct 24 2008 01:52

As far as I understand, because Chris (as a sabb) is an employee of the union, it goes under employee tribunal FIRST, then students second.

Perhaps that is skewed, and either way I'm sure we will be discussing it further, once a decision has been made.

ROAR is free, as of next week or so there will be a new editor (i.e. not a sabb) and it shall be free, moreso than it has been.

Oct 24 2008 09:47

What happens if the employment tribunal decides to sack him, but the students decide that they want to keep him?

A member of college staff is akin to the PM of France - it is someone whose job it is to look after the interests of their own organisation (country), so they can't be independent and unbiased. When dealing with the SU president, you can hardly call a member of either KCLSU or KCL staff independent and unbiased.

Oct 24 2008 10:07

At least the best person at the time was elected. Can you imagine that Dave Garvey could've been elected - He's less than f**king useless.

34. Dafydd   
Oct 24 2008 11:31

haha!! I'd heard that too... he is a waste of good air and has never done anything for KCLSU... Ever

35. Dafydd   
Oct 24 2008 11:46

...though Charlie Morgan may have been the best person for the job - he prioritises well - lash and banter for all!!

Oct 24 2008 20:33

actually you'll find that in the UK it is not only the house of commons who can remove the prime minister. the party can as well, not only the party MPs either i.e. not elected representatives of the people.

in any case, we are talking about an instance where the elected official is deemed to have broken some rule or law governing his or her office. It is not elected representatives who decide if they have broken a rule or a law and it is not elected representatives who decide to remove that person.

this is the instance that is parallel to Chris's and therefore there is no reason to expect the student body to have an election to decide whether or not Chris should stay, in this case.

It is not independent or unbiased people that we need, it's people with sound judgement and understanding of the role of President and the people who decided Chris's fate seem to fulfill those specifications. Nobody is 'independent and unbiased' but not everyone has sound judgement and understanding of the role of president (certainly not a majority of the student body).

Oct 26 2008 13:26

Actually, if people bothered to read the statements and documents rather than mouthing off in the usual SU-politics ill-informed manner you'd have noticed that actually the final right of dismissal lies with the trustees and they have yet to invoke this. All this is is an attempt to determine a verdict, but it will ultimately be the Trustees that make the decision on whether or not he goes.

Nov 12 2008 03:18

Hi everyone,

Just to let you know that SOAS is taking a keen interest in this developing story. When Wes Streeting, the President of the NUS, came to speak at SOAS, a demonstration took place calling for him to resign for failing to act over Chris Mullan's comments.

Check out and join Facebook group "SNEWS" to see explosive video coverage and web articles of the demonstration.


Nov 12 2008 09:10

That would be giving the crazies at SOAS more attention than they deserve though, wouldn't it?

Nov 21 2008 16:35

Chris has now officially been sacked by KCLSU.

Nov 22 2008 22:01

can we let this die??

...i guess not!! but hey, here's hoping!!

Nov 23 2008 10:11

There clearly needs to be a new article on live, to update us all - as it is the source of all knowledge ;-)

Nov 23 2008 17:45

Why bother - according to the posters on here, KCLSU is apparently flawless and incapable of either wrongful dismissal or blatant political meddling. Any follow up article would therefore be pointless.

For an unaccountable three-man panel composed mainly of staff to remove an officer elected by hundreds of students is apparently also OK...

Nov 23 2008 20:26

today we are going to teach you not to voice your quasi-racist views in public. If you forget this, you might lose your job.

LESSON LEARNED (the hard way)

45. Aboy   
Nov 24 2008 18:37

Well, he deserved it.

Nov 26 2008 09:16


Well, I meant updated in the sense that the whole drama is over now. Well, at least I bloody hope so!

Want more info:

Nov 26 2008 09:26

The whole drama is over?

Until KCLSU finds itself in front of an employment tribunal.

Nov 26 2008 10:29

The most worrying thing here is that the Chief Executive of KCLSU colluded with a College official to have Mullan removed on some spurious "corporate image" grounds.

Staff accountability in SU's is slowly being reduced to a senior staff member writing a report telling a bunch of ill informed sabbs/student trustees that everything is fine once every couple of months.

The NUS will be the same in 3 years time. I suppose on the upside they will be able to reign in the Black Students Officer if he or she goes off the rails again.

Nov 28 2008 23:28

I guess that's a no then????

And the panel that dismissed him was not the employment tribunal - it was ONLY the elected trustees (well excluding those conflicted out for either having appeared at an earlier stage, or, like ellender, for personal, house-sharing reasons). The trustee panel was chaired by Tony Sebastian, and complrised of ONLY elected sabbatical officers.

50. wtf   
Nov 29 2008 12:16

Please can someone confirm this is true, is there like an official statement or report somewhere?

Dec 05 2008 11:08

"In accordance with Article 66.9 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, the elected Student Trustees decided to remove Chris Mullan as a Sabbatical Trustee and President of KCLSU."

*in my last note i typed "only elected sabbatical officers" - i meant '...ONLY elected trustees' - but the final decision lay with those elected by the students (barring any that were conflicted out) but NO lay trustees sat on the final panel.

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