Cambridge University students have said that military personnel should not be allowed at their annual freshers’ fair event as their presence could ‘detrimentally affect’ the mental health of attendees.
As reported in the Metro, Stella Swain – who is the current welfare and rights officer at the students’ union – proposed a controversial motion to ban ‘societies’ from bringing ‘firearms’ to the fair.
The motion was agreed and subsequently passed.
The Metro reports that Swain said that seeing weapons and military personnel at a fair could be ‘alarming and off-putting’ for some students even though any ‘weapons’ would be non-live firing display versions of the real thing.
Swain believed that the freshers’ fair should not be a place for the military to ‘recruit’ adding that the CUSU had previously pledged to ‘demilitarise’ the university.
But what about the thousands of roles within the military which do not require service personnel to carry weapons routinely?
For example, what if a university student had aspirations to become an aircraft engineer? Or what about the students who might be interested in signing up to the armed forces to train to become a fast-jet, fixed wing or helicopter pilot?
Not all of the aircraft deployed by the military carry weapons. Some carry life-saving humanitarian aid to countries which have been hit by mass casualty events such as hurricanes and tsunamis.
And let us not forget the servicemen and women who carry out vital jobs behind the scenes of the front-line fighting forces.
Just because you join the military does not mean that you will be routinely carrying (or firing) a weapon.
A former commander of the British Forces in Afganistan has branded the motion as ‘pathetic’.
Colonel Richard Kemp told the Telegraph that he believed it was just ‘another effort’ by students to ‘undermine British society’.
He continued: ‘Without the Armed Forces these students wouldn’t be able to study, they are only able to because the country has been protected and defended by the British Army.
‘Many students from Cambridge University fought and died in the Armed Forces and for our country.
‘Students should have more respect for those who went before them, who made the ultimate sacrifice to allow them to study in freedom.’
In a statement released by the CUSU, a spokesperson explained that the motion initially proposed to ban external staff from national organisations at the freshers’ fair.
‘This part of the motion was removed before it was passed.
‘The final motion only proposed to restrict firearms at the Freshers’ Fair event and did not constitute any sort of ban on military personnel, military organisations or military student societies. ‘
All registered student societies are welcome at the CUSU Freshers’ Fair, including student military societies, and this will continue to be the case.’
But let us know what you think in the comments below. Was Ms Swain right concerning her apparent sentiment towards the armed forces?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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