Has Stirling’s Union President lied to us already, after promising to be ‘politically neutral’?

He has taken it upon himself to decide the SU’s stance on Trident

During last year’s campaign to become the next President of Stirling’s Union, our elected President Dave Keenan, along with all other candidates agreed that it would be imperative for the President of the Union to remain “politically neutral”, but has Keenan broken this promise already?

Last week Stirling’s CND group carried out a demonstration in the city, which involved stopping a convoy carrying nuclear weapons through the city by standing in front of and lying underneath the military vehicles carrying the weapons.

In the aftermath of the event Stirling’s Union President Dave Keenan released a statement supporting the action when he supported the actions and said that: “Stirling Students’ Union takes a firm stance against Trident and will continue to support our CND society and our activists in any future actions.”

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This appears to be President Keenan’s first challenge as Union President who was an active campaigner for nuclear disarmament before becoming President. Does this previous position compromise Keenan’s pledge to remain politically neutral and it begs the question, with the position occupied by Keenan, is it possible to remain politically neutral?

With the highly politically-charged arena that is university it would seem that for the union to remain ‘neutral’ could be near on impossible without upsetting a large portion of the student population who see their union not supporting their cause.

With the support of the CND’s actions, it seems that Keenan’s previous political convictions could be getting in the way of leading a neutral union whom students can rely on for representing all views. It may be that the timing of this action is unfortunate for Keenan as this is the first time he has had a major incident come into the public light and it is unfortunate that it relates to his previous political convictions. However, does backing this cause marginalise supporters of nuclear weapons?

Maybe his statement was justified as it is the general consensus that the student population are in support of the CND’s actions and support the notion of the UK’s nuclear weapons programme to be scrapped. In this case Keenan could be praised for engaging with the majority of opinion and making students aware that the union is fully behind any action by a small group which represents the majority.

Keenan spoke to The Tab and told us: “Stirling Students’ Union wholeheartedly supports the society and students involved in this action. The union has policy that states we support all peace initiatives within the local area.”

This action raises questions of what Keenan’s tenure will look like for the future. His previous affiliation with the CND may be purely coincidental or this could signal a direction of the union taking a standing point on highly controversial issues where the union’s stance may be at odds with that of other students.

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University of Stirling