After the revelations that student and Cayley Hall committee candidate, Piers Currell, used black make up for hall hustings, Union Council must bring the Students’ Union into line with the rest of society.
The Students’ Union’s lack of disciplinary policy for students who use black make up is absurd. Plans I put forward were attacked and ridiculed by students, but for those that have seen the picture of Piers Currell wilfully “blacking up” have found it shocking.
This level of ignorance needs not only to be shown to be wrong through a campaign by the Students Union, but a disciplinary policy is now necessary to back it up. Otherwise this will happen again.
When students complained on Twitter about the picture being put on the Label Online Facebook page, it was immediately taken down. This, as far as I’m concerned, can only be described as brushing the issue under the carpet rather than taking necessary action to stop students from dressing in this manner.
Whilst this exercise in dressing offensively has been confirmed by the vast majority as inappropriate, it is difficult to police those dressed in what has been deemed as “bad taste”. It is perhaps better in this case to educate students about the offence this may cause. That is, those who dress in this case as Jimmy Savile and Oscar Pistorius.
The Students’ Union should ban racist make up, that which can obviously be identified as racist.
Whilst the student concerned may have merely been ignorant to the actual historical meaning of using black make up, we must educate students, an exercise which the Union has failed to do thus far.
If Union Council does not act, then we risk alienating students from ethnic minority backgrounds in the name of that growingly infamous word “banter” which some students believe entitles them to behave in any manner they see fit.
We need to establish boundaries at Loughborough Students’ Union, ones that appropriately protect minority groups on the one hand and disciplines those who cross these boundaries on the other.
I cannot guarantee the motion I’ll be putting forward at the next Union Council will pass, but I hope councillors see the reason and accept the inevitability of the steps we need to take to create a fair and inclusive Students’ Union.