Bristol meme page slammed for suicide joke by former SU officer candidates
Wills Memeorial in hot water again
Bristol University's leading meme page has been embroiled in controversy following a 'Freshers Tips' list that appeared to poke fun at student suicides and sexual assault on The Downs.
Wills Memeorial, which has amassed over 3,000 likes on Facebook since it launched in March 2017, posted the image in question on Saturday afternoon and was thereafter met with a barrage of criticism from former SU officer candidates.
Their ire was directed at points 4 and 10 on the list in question, namely that "The Downs are beautiful at night" and that "Rope is cheapest at Wilkos".
Former Student Living Officer Sarah Rae Redrup called the image "gross" and went on "not to mention not funny all 9 things above it are so basic. Ha ha ha pryzm is bad and sexual assault on the downs is such an original joke. Rich stoke bishop kids never fail to bore us."
It comes in the wake of other memes such as one titled "New show about UoB students" with an image of the Netflix teen suicide show Thirteen Reasons Why beneath it and a "transphobic" gender meme that the then LGBT+ officer called "fucking gross".
Following the outcry about today's "Fresher tips" list, the page subsequently issued a promotion for its line of merchandise and added that "all profits from first two weeks of Freshers are going to PAPYRUS- a charity for the prevention of young suicide in the UK".
Gee Ellis, who was an unsuccessful candidate for the post of Equality, Liberation and Access Officer in this year's SU elections commented: "So, you care about suicide prevention but you still make jokes about Bristol's high suicide rate? And according to your responses, you don't care as long as your memes are popular. Grow a conscience."
In response to the firestorm of criticism, the page issued an official statement to The Tab Bristol: "We accept that people have been offended and apologise if it's hurt anyone. The trends of Bristol university don't exist because of us, we comment on them. Comedy is a subjective and complex thing, some jokes will be seen as bland by some and distasteful by others – today we found where some people draw the line."
Rowena Salmon, another candidate for the ELA Officer role in this year's SU elections replied: "The admins can claim that in black comedy, suicide is fair game."
"That may be (as much as I disagree), but to make this particular joke about suicide at a university whose issues with mental health are very real and which has a suicide rate of five deaths in the past academic year is an astonishing lack of judgement and of respect for the dead, their families and friends, and the wider student body."
Asked for comment, Ollie Crawford, admin of rival meme page Class in the ASS said: "I think there's a line when it comes to memeing, and they cross it. Even if they support a charity that helps people with poor mental health, making jokes about it on a popular social media page is not only hypocritical but will do nothing but make the problem worse. "
"Imagine if you had suicidal thoughts and you saw a post on social media mocking those thoughts, it would be devastating."
Despite the controversy, the meme has continued to attract tags and positive attention throughout the day, with over 200 likes at the time of this report going to publication.