Student executive member quits in 'lewd act' row
Wednesday 29 February 2012
A student union boss has stepped down amid controversy after being caught on camera with a woman simulating an oral sex act.
Ben Meakin, 21, issued an apology today and spoke of his long-standing support for women's rights.
He resigned from the executive committee of the National Union of Students (Wales) yesterday amid growing rumours about his actions.
He remains president of Aberystwyth University Guild of Students in the picturesque west Wales seaside resort.
His resignation came after allegations were made of inappropriate conduct with a female student at a pub over the weekend.
His outing to the pub with other students followed the annual women's superteams sporting event at the university.
A photograph apparently showing Mr Meakin taking part in a drinking competition at the pub appeared for a time on Facebook.
It showed a woman, thought to be student, on her knees on a stairway in front of Mr Meakin, apparently simulating a lewd act while he downs a beer.
He later announced via his own Facebook page that he had resigned from the NUS (Wales) executive committee.
The announcement attracted more than 80 comments, many of which dismissed claims that he was acting in a sexist manner.
One stated that the woman pictured knew that the competition was being photographed and that the photos would appear on Facebook.
Another claimed she was in no way forced to take part in the drinking competition or was unhappy with her treatment.
The university's student newspaper, The Courier, led with the story yesterday and detailed the allegations against Mr Meakin.
It informed students that "Meakin was in The Academy pub in Aberystwyth apparently competing in a drinking game while a female student simulated a lewd act on him".
It also carried his statement in full, which read: "I sincerely regret my participation in the social event held outside the Guild after our superteams day.
"I compromised my role as Guild president. This morning, I resigned as a member of the NUS Wales national executive committee. My actions go against the fantastic work of the women's liberation movement, which I fully support.
"Personally, I am a strong advocate for the women's movement. This is clear through my work banning the event Carnage coming to the Guild this year. I have learned from this experience and plan to carry on my work here at Aberystwyth University."
Steffan Storch, editor of The Courier, said the newspaper's report had "clarified" the situation for students.
"Speculation was rife and this clarified a lot of the rumours that were going around."
He declined to say what the rumours were but added that opinion among students was divided. Many took the view that what had happened was harmless fun.
Others took the moral high ground and thought someone in his position should not have taken part in such an event.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
Greece debt crisis explainer: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
Greece debt crisis referendum: Greeks want to vote No to austerity – but Yes to Europe
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...