Cambridge SU & Louis Ashworth with permission for Varsity

An SU sabbatical officer called in sick from refresher’s fair while holidaying in Morocco, Varsity can reveal.

Maroof Rafique, the SU’s BME Officer, was absent for refresher’s fair, which is held at the beginning of Lent term to re-introduce students to the societies and campaigns on offer at Cambridge, leaving students to run his stall.

Rafique’s actions have been described as a “breach of trust”.

The fair took place on the 15th of January, and Varsity is aware that Rafique called in sick on this day.

The elected officer is seen in multiple photos and videos on the instagram page of the University travel society taking part in their Morocco trip, which took place from the 10th to the 15th of January.

Various photos on Rafique’s Facebook page confirm that he took part in this trip. The advertisement for the holiday includes highlights such as “camel riding”, “sandboarding,” and “stargazing”.

Students ran the BME stall at the fair in Rafique’s absence, after being told that he was off sick. One BME student present at the event told Varsity: “Maroof was not present at refreshers’ fair, as far as students at the fair were aware, he was unwell (as was conveyed to everyone by the staff team). BME campaign committee students were left to run the stall.”

“However, it seems likely from social media, that he was actually in Morocco at the time. It would be extremely unfair to BME and all students if he left work for his holiday,” they said.

An SU insider told Varsity: “This is a complete breach of trust, made worse by how egregious it was: did he really think nobody would notice it on social media? He’s tried to take students for idiots, I doubt anybody trusts him.”

Rafique was voted in as BME Officer in Easter term’s by-election, after the role went unfilled in the Lent elections. The former Darwin College Law student’s work as a sabbatical officer focuses on decolonisation and BME awareness, according to his profile.

The holiday incident comes after the SU’s Disabled Students’ Officer resigned last month. Last term, the SU’s Welfare Officer formally apologised for liking online content supportive of the Hamas attacks in Israel. The officer apologised for the “harm done,” and said that he had agreed to meet with Cambridge University Jewish Society to “reflect” and understand how he can “support Jewish students going forward.”

Maroof Rafique told Varsity: ”Firstly, I must clarify that I was determined to represent the BME Campaign at Refreshers Fair for which I was regrettably prevented from attending due to illness. [...] The decision to miss the Refreshers Fair was not taken lightly, and I deeply regret any inconvenience or disappointment my absence may have caused to students and the BME Campaign members who worked diligently to represent the BME stall in my stead.”


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“The comments regarding my commitment to the BME Campaign and the implications of my actions are deeply concerning. I understand the importance of trust within our community and am committed to rebuilding any that may have been eroded due to this incident,” he said.

“I wish to reiterate that the welfare and representation of BME students are priorities that guide my actions, and I am committed to ensuring that our campaign’s objectives continue to be met with the highest level of dedication and integrity,” Rafique concluded.