The President of Southampton Students’ Union, Emily Dawes, has vowed to paint over a historic memorial to fallen students that sits in the University’s Senate Room. The Rothenstein Mural was painted in 1916 to as a memorial for students who left to serve in the First World War and never came back – almost a million young Brits were killed in the conflict. The mural depicts the unknown soldier receiving the degree he was never able to finish.
Dawes tweeted that the mural of “white men” needs to be taken down even if she had to “paint it over myself”. This isn’t even anything to do with the debate over ‘problematic’ historical figures, it’s a memorial to students who lost their lives…
UPDATE: Emily Dawes has issued a written apology, in the same style as the Southampton SU statement earlier today distancing itself from her comments.
Guido questions the sincerity of the apology and her intentions given it was deliberately timed for Armistice Day:
It makes you despair at the mindless inhumanity of the sentiment and the ignorance of the notion…
UPDATE: Emily Dawes has resigned as President as Southampton Students’ Union President. Read her full statement below:
“After careful consideration I’ve decided that it’s best if I step down from my role.
I sincerely apologise for the offence and disrespect caused by my earlier comments, which were misinformed. I acted impulsively and as such fully accept how careless and hurtful my words were.
I’ve had a wonderful time as President and am sad to be leaving. All my thanks go to everyone who has supported me throughout my Presidency, and I wish the team and the Union all the best.”