03/02/2014 11:32 GMT | Updated 04/02/2014 09:59 GMT

Kent University Student Union Uses Joseph Stalin To Promote Campus Politics Event

A students' union is facing a backlash after using an image of former dictator of the USSR Joseph Stalin to promote their upcoming elections.

The controversial poster, used by the University of Kent's SU, is promoting Campus Takeover, a week-long event designed to "encourage students to think about campaigning, politics and activism".

It features an image of the Soviet ruler with cartoon eyes, with the tagline "Campus Takeover: Are You Ready?".


Kent Union has faced widespread criticism for the controversial poster

Kent students have widely criticised the union for the poster. David Lewis, who chairs the 'Your Community' Zone at Kent Union branded it "distasteful and alienating".

Speaking to Kent student paper The Medwire, he said: "Equating a murderous tyrant of tens of millions of innocent people with Kent Union elections is incredibly distasteful and alienating. It’s just not funny."

Kent Union issued a statement in response to the student backlash. A spokesperson said: "The posters and leaflets for 'Campus Takeover' are designed to promote and spark discussion."

The union explained the poster is based on two pieces of "protest art": a film poster for Red Monarch, which depicts an image of Stalin with a tomato squashed against his nose; and the “New Labour, New Danger” advertising campaign created by M&C Saatchi.

Kent Union added: "The material is not aimed at aligning the organisation with any particular political campaign or party but rather to set out to profile one of the 'Campus Takeover' events – to show the power of cartoons in politics."

But not all students were satisfied with the Union's statement: