Student president claims he was suspended for opposing PM’s LGBT honour
The head of a student union has alleged that he was suspended for opposing a university honour for Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Conservative PM was made a Companion of De Montford University in August, for pushing through the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013 – which finally allowed same-sex couples to tie the knot.
The decision to honour him was opposed by De Montfort Students’ Union’s LGBT group as well as the SU President Adil Waraich, who called for the honour to be repealed.
Critics highlighted that Cameron’s economic policies “hurt disadvantaged LGBT youths”, while noting that Conservative MEPs continue to vote against EU-wide equality legislation.
However, days after Mr Waraich posted a video calling for the repeal of the honour, he was informed he had been suspended and banned from entering the campus.
In a letter to the Student Union, De Montfort’s pro vice chancellor Professor Michael Young warned: “[The University] recognises the right of the Students’ Union to protest on such issues, but it does appear somewhat disingenuous to do so now, when no objections or concerns had been raised on behalf of students in the appropriate fora”.
Several months later, the investigation into the conduct of Mr Waraich is still ongoing – blocking him from working.
Mr Waraich told Buzzfeed: “If we’re talking equality for LGBT people, this is a man who voted against repealing Section 28 as recently as 2003.
“I have a right to freedom of speech, and it’s my job to stand up and speak on behalf of students, whether the university management like what I have to say or otherwise.
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“The university have made themselves conveniently unavailable, meaning this process has been going on for months, stopping me from campaigning and doing my job.”
De Montfort Students’ Union’ said in a statement: “An investigation is currently underway regarding the conduct of De Montfort Students’ Union President, Adil Waraich.
“To adhere with the Students’ Union’s policies and procedures, Adil has been suspended from his Presidential duties with immediate effect, whilst a full investigation is carried out.
“De Montfort University takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and the matter will be investigated thoroughly, to maintain the integrity of the organisation and to uphold the role of Students’ Union President.
“Whilst Adil, who is currently serving in his 2nd term as President of the Students’ Union is suspended, the other executive officers are taking on the role and responsibilities to ensure the Students’ Union continues to function as normal.
“It would be inappropriate to comment any further until the investigation is complete.”
A spokesperson from De Montfort University said: “The university is aware that the De Montfort Students’ Union is conducting an investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment whilst this investigation continues.”