ULU officers vote to 'ban' themselves from remembrance services

London student leaders still allowed to attend in a personal capacity

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The Independent Online

London student leaders have voted not to attend a Remembrance Sunday service, inevitably causing controversy with the decision.

Officials at the University of London Union, which represents students at most of the capital’s universities, voted in favour of a motion that would prohibit themselves from appearing at the service in an official capacity.

Elected representatives of ULU are still allowed to attend the service, held by the University of London, in a personal capacity, provided they do not claim to be speaking for other students or for the union.

Michael Chessum, the president of ULU told The Independent that the “democratically established” decision “leaves room for officers and students to act freely”.

“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'," he said.

The vote has infuriated various student groups, as well as Stella Creasy MP, who is an alumnus of the LSE.

Ms Creasy, who is the Labour MP for Walthamstow, tweeted: “As a former student, this decision by ULU to ban officers from participating in Remembrance Sunday makes me ashamed.”

Jay Stoll, meanwhile, the general secretary of LSE’s student union said in a letter to his university’s student paper that a “blanket ban” was “utterly absurd”.

The motion states that “ULU elected representatives have the liberty to choose whether they wish to attend the Remembrance ceremony or not, in line with the political beliefs they may hold. However, if ULU officers or staff members want to take part, naturally they can, as long as they do not claim to be representing ULU as an organisation.”