People are calling for a vote of no confidence in the SU President after Jacob Rees-Mogg photo controversy
She’s been accused of ‘fraternising with extremists’
A petition has been made calling for a vote of no confidence in the Sussex SU President after controversy over her taking a photo with Jacob Rees-Mogg
Controversy broke out last week after SU Activities Officer Lucy Williams posted the photo on Facebook last week which featured herself and SU President Frida Gustafsson posing alongside the controversial Conservative MP in Parliament, which was written about in the Sunday Times.
The petition, started by Sussex student Arthur James Hutchinson, declares the photo "has given us reason to hold no confidence in her", dubbing it is a way of "fraternising with extremists who hold anti-choice, racist, and homophobic ideologies" and giving "power to a horrible man, and puts him on a pedestal where he doesn't belong".
Frida has since responded to the petition and is "happy to meet with, discuss, and hear from people with views different from my own".
The photo divided opinions between students and SU Officers, as Rees-Mogg is known for voting against gay marriage and abortion rights, with one third year International Relations Student saying: "Although I’ve generally agreed with Frida on a lot of issues, this has put serious doubts in my mind about her leadership".
Frida posed for the photo just after giving evidence to an inquiry into free speech at universities.
Explaining why he made the petition, Hutchinson tells The Tab Sussex: "I don’t think our elected rep should be saying that the like of JRM is ‘endlessly fascinating’. It gives power to a horrible man, and puts him on a pedestal where he doesn’t belong. Regardless of whether she shared it in her private life, the internet is a public tool.
"I don’t think it looks right that our leftist uni, who advertises free tampons, and holds consent demonstrations is now seen to be all happy with that man. I also think that Frida hasn’t managed to do a lot with her position. She campaigned for better buses but looks what’s happened with the recent spike of prices, especially cause the services haven’t gotten any better.
"I think what we need to get out of this is either her changing her attitude and taking her position seriously, or we have a re-vote for our President".
Responding to the petition, Frida tells The Tab Sussex: "I support students' right to start petitions on any topic they may like. As I said before, in my personal and professional life I’m happy to meet with, discuss and hear from people with views different from my own. I welcome students contacting me with any concerns or feedback on my work".