Thursday, 26 November 2015

Student Watch: Suspended After...

The student president of an English university has been suspended from his position after organising a protest against David Cameron’s record on equality.

Adil Waraich, the elected student leader at De Montfort University in Leicester, started a campaign with other students over an award given to the prime minister by his university.

But soon afterwards a letter was handed to him by the union’s trustees that told him he was suspended and banned from entering the campus...

In August this year, David Cameron was awarded a “Companionship” from the university, its highest honour. Controversially for some students, the award was given to him for overseeing the passage of the Same Sex Marriage Act in 2013.

The ceremony, held in August 2015, was a top-secret occasion, with students taken to London for the event.

“Before my arrival the only information I had was that an honorary graduation ceremony was to take place in 10 Downing Street,” said Grace Elliot, a second-year sociology student at De Montfort, who attended as the women’s officer of the LGBT+ society.

“When we found out who was to receive the award and why I was shocked to say the least.”

While she acknowledges Cameron played “some role” in passing same-sex marriage legislation, Elliott argued that it was “hardly significant”.

“David Cameron did not protest, petition, or campaign – he merely advocated a basic right. In my opinion, that doesn’t deserve an award.”

Waraich said the university took students who weren’t told why they were going to London for the ceremony, “which meant many felt extremely uncomfortable”.

“These students wanted answers,” he said, “so they organised a meeting with the university to try and explain their concerns; they wanted an apology, and commitments to not do this again. But the university fobbed them off, so it was time for me to step in.”

He started a petition that called on De Montfort to repeal the award, and posted a video online...


Oh hang on, what's this bit...

He was told the suspension was not just over the protest, but also previous concerns raised by the university about his attendance at senior management meetings and two prank videos uploaded privately online.

Note no-one else who protested about Cameron's award was suspended.

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