Exeposé News Issue 632, Page 5 (8 December 2014) and Exeposé News online (10 December 2014)
The Students’ Guild has voted to officially condemn extremist rebel group ISIS.
On Wednesday 26 November, Guild Council met to discuss the Student Idea created by Sam Salzman: “The Students’ Guild Should vote to condemn ISIS”
Describing the organisation as “one of the greatest threats the civilised world has faced in recent years,” Salzman’s Idea argued: “If the actions of ISIS do not merit condemnation, then surely there is no organisation in the world which does.”
The Idea received 76 votes, with 51 strongly in favour. It was then passed to Guild Council for consideration.
Opening the discussion, Council Chair Maria Finnerty stated: “I don’t think anyone’s under the impression that we condone ISIS”
However, questions were raised as to whether the Guild, a non-political organisation, should take a stance on the issue.
“Obviously ISIS are a vile regime. Hypothetically they should be condemned,” stated Matt Bate, VP Activites. He explained: “It’s not a question of whether or not we condemn ISIS – it’s more of a question of whether it is appropriate for the Guild to have a stance on this.”
Yet adding that “a vote not to condemn would be seen as condoning,” Bate spoke in favour of a vote to condemn ISIS “there and then,” stating: “It’s such a black and white issue.”
Council voted on the issue, with ten votes for immediate condemnation, four for passing the decision to the student vote, one abstention and one vote to not take a stance – resulting in an immediate official condemnation of ISIS.
The Guild decision preceded an NUS vote to condemn ISIS last week. At the National Executive Council on Wednesday 3 December, NEC members concluded “that ISIS should be condemned for its atrocities, against the Kurdish people and all others who have been affected.”
The NUS condemnation follows weeks of widespread controversy in the wake of a refusal to condemn ISIS in October. The motion “to condemn the IS and support Kurdish forces fighting against it” was then rejected by the NEC on grounds of the move being seen as “islamophobic.”
Commenting on the Guid’s decision to condemn ISIS, President Rachael Gillies said: “Guild Council voted to express solidarity with the Kurdish people and to condemn ISIS for violence and atrocities committed in recent months. I hope that this will offer some comfort to students from affected regions who are currently experiencing a very difficult time.”