Scottish CND Chair ‘surprised’ at Union motion on political neutrality

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Photo: Stirling Uni CND

The Chair of the Scottish CND has said he is “surprised” at a motion put forward for the Union’s General Meeting on Thursday calling on the student body to be neutral in all political matters.

Arthur West said he thought it was “logical” Stirling Students’ Union should be supportive of the campaign for nuclear disarmament.

It comes after Stirling Uni CND and other anti-nuclear weapons campaigners stalled a military convoy thought to be carrying Trident warheads last month, after two activists lay down in front of and between the wheels of a truck.

Union President Dave Keenan issued a statement supporting the action in line with Union policy, and called on Police Scotland to drop charges against the protesters.

Keenan faced a backlash from some students for the statement, who said the position did not reflect the views of the whole student body at Stirling, leading to Thursday’s proposed Motion on Union Officer Neutrality.

Mr West said: “We [Scottish CND] are an organisation which supports spending money currently wasted on nuclear weapons on decent things like education and quality jobs for our young people.

“It seems logical to me that a student body would also be in favour of such a policy.”

The motion submitted to the Union for the upcoming GM reads: “We seek to uphold the right to demonstration and protest of all political groups.

“However, we do not believe the Student Union should be showing official support for any political group or movement within or separate to the university.”

The motion calls on the Union to resolve that “all its officials and officers maintain a neutral stance upon all political issues”.

Opposition to the motion has been mounted by Stirling Uni CND and Stirling Uni, Cut the Rent, who have created a campaign group ‘Save Our Student Union! #SavetheSU‘ on Facebook which hopes to mobilise students to attend the GM and vote the motion down.

Campaigners say the decision to be politically neutral would see the Union not take a stance on issues like women’s rights, gendered violence, free education and climate change.

They added: “For the Union to stand by on these issues would be a political choice, and not one we believe students back.

“At Stirling, we have a proud history of backing campaigns that students have voted to, against apartheid, for free education, against illegal wars, and for equality.

“It’s not time to give up on this now, under the guise of an attack on CND activism.”

Stirling Council last week passed a motion saying that nuclear weapons convoys were not welcome in the city, a move which local CND activists have claimed credit for.

Union President Dave Keenan has been approached for comment.

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