UWE election cancelled after SU president makes ‘blatant anti-Semitic comments’
WhatsApp screenshots show interference with the elections
UWE have cancelled an election due to comments made by the SU President that have been labelled blatantly anti -semitic.
Elections for the Democratic Procedures Committee (DPC) have been called to a halt after the SU president, Zain Choudry, sent out a plea to a Whatsapp group not to vote for candidate, William Bates, describing him as "a very Zionist type person".
Student political groups have called for him to apologise with the Labour Society calling it a "serious error judgement".
@TheSUPresident needs to consider whether it is appropriate for him to continue in his role given his recent comments which may have breached election rules and could clearly be interpreted as anti-semitic and threatening, especially given his support of MEND pic.twitter.com/CWqeIHSSaf
— William Bates (@MrWilliamBates) November 30, 2017
In the WhatsApp message he urges members to vote for Alex "As he is a very Zionist person who pushes for Israel flags to be put outside of the SU"
He adds: "William is currently most likely to win the election for the DPC" The DPC has five elected members to vote on student processes and ensure that the student council meetings are transparent and open.
He then goes on to say: "We cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour".
The Whatsapp conversation was posted on social media just a day before the voting was due to close.
Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle, Bates said that he had "no idea where he got the claim from, although UWE does have a flagpole that flies international flags or various national days and I wouldn't be opposed to that in that context".
Other societies at UWE took to Facebook to express concerns.
The UWE Labour society called on the SU president to 'immediately clarify his remarks and apologise'.
Additionally the UWE Liberal Democrat Society expressed they are "Deeply concerned by the comments made by the Student Union" and that they "will not tolerate a climate of fear being created to degrade a group of students".
Choudry has since responded to the uproar on social media:
"I have continuously worked towards a more cohesive inter-faith society at university and in our community".
He has stated his intention to make amends for his comments:
"I will be further reaching out to the Union of Jewish students in due course to enhance my relationship with them".
More updates to follow as we get them.