While many countries around the world pause for a minute on Remembrance Day to pay respect to fallen soldiers who died as a result of war, students of a council at Cambridge University have voted down a motion to further promote Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom.
According to UK publication The Telegraph, the motion had been put forward to the Cambridge University Student’s Union (CUSU) by members of Cambridge’s Conservative Association (CUCA) and encouraged the university to be proactive in promoting the cause of remembrance. According to the report, two members from the CUCA suggested pausing for a minute’s silence or sending reminders to students about poppies, but their motion was rejected.
The Telegraph said members of the CUSU Council voted against the motion amidst fears it glorified conflict.
The CUCA shared images of the original proposal on Facebook, as well as the amendments made by the CUSA.
“Yesterday, CUSU Council shockingly voted against the motion that they should promote commemorations this Remembrance Day and encourage students to support the Poppy Appeal,” a statement on the CUCA Facebook page read.
The message took aim at the CUSU’s amendments, noting the council had crossed out words including “British war veterans”, “Remembrance Day” and “Poppies” from the motion.
“This is a Student’s Union that literally wants to erase our memory and gratitude to war heroes who sacrificed so much for so many,” the statement continued. “Does Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) represent you?”
Sharing a statement of their own, the CUSU acknowledged on Facebook that it had rejected the motion.
“An amendment was submitted and debated, centred around broadening the narrative and actions of the motion,” the statement read. “Ultimately a democratic decision was made to vote down the overall motion by an overwhelming majority.”
The message explained that members of the council include JRC and MCR Officers and faculty representatives and CUSU’s campaign teams for women, LGBT, BME, disabled and international students. The council also explained that there had been misinformation about the outcome of the debate.
“There has been misreporting of the motion and CUSU resents any suggestion that its members or representatives either reject or disregard all commemoration of British War Veterans,” the message read. “We encourage open debate among our members and want all students to make their opinions heard on key issues within the university, either by speaking to their council representatives or by attending council themselves, as all students are entitled to do.”
According to The Telegraph, the group wanted to broaden the focus so remembrance included people who suffered and died in countries from all around the world – not just the United Kingdom. With students from more than 120 different countries, a spokesperson told the publication it was about recognising remembrance in different ways. The spokesperson also added students would still be laying wreaths at Remembrance Sunday events.
Meanwhile, a CUCA representative told the publication it wanted members of the CUSU to sell poppies as a way of supporting struggling veterans charities.
Starts at 60 contacted CUSU out of office hours and they’ve been unable to respond before publication.