A university union has banned its student leaders from representing their peers at a Remembrance Day service - with the decision being slammed by an MP.
The University of London Union (ULU), which is Europe's biggest student union, barred its members from attending the memorial if they went as representatives of the organisation. The student officials are forbidden to go in an official capacity or to speak on behalf of other students, the London Student reported.
Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy has even weighed in, saying her former union's decision makes her feel "ashamed".
As a former student, this decision by ULU to ban officers from participating in remembrance sunday makes me ashamed http://t.co/xnS2Nu3OHu— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) October 28, 2013
@michael_chessum can you not see how Remembrance Sunday isn't about the reasons to go to war, but honouring those who serve their country?— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) October 28, 2013
The decision has caused outrage among students belonging to the union, including Jay Stoll, general secretary of London School of Economic's students' union.
In an open letter, Stoll says: "Whilst British soldiers were being savaged in the fields of Northern Europe, my family were being savaged in death camps in Poland. If it wasn’t for the lucky couple of my ancestors that escaped to these shores, I can say with certainty that I would not be here. I owe everything to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"Putting a blanket ban on representatives attending in an official capacity is utterly absurd."
Louisa Townson, president of the UCL Conservative society, told the student paper: “What sticks in the throat though is the outright delusional arrogance of this senate clique that wishes to impose this view on 120,000 students and say no one may represent ULU at the service.
"I find it amazing that when convenient they shout from the rooftops about the sheer number they represent, but on a topic like this expediently silence them.”
“Students overwhelmingly want their union to pay respect, not just to fallen students in years gone by, but to give thanks to those that lost their lives to protect the rights and liberties we hold dear today.”
Michael Chessum, president of ULU, told the Daily Telegraph: "ULU has democratically established a policy on its engagement with official Remembrance which leaves room for officers and students to act freely.
"Either attending or not attending official ceremonies is a political act.
"Personally, I will commemorate the dead killed in war by fighting for peace and challenging the policies of governments, not by standing next to war criminals like Tony Blair on plinths, pretending that these acts are 'triumphant'."
This is the second year running where ULU has created a storm over its decision to boycott Remembrance Day. Last year, Daniel Cooper, acting President of the union, "brought shame on himself" and the 120,000 students he represents by refusing to place a wreath on their behalf at a remembrance service in London last SundaySuggest a correction