Student union president accused of ‘homophobia and transphobia’ and dressing as holocaust victim
A recently elected student union president has been accused of “antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist and ableist” social media posts and dressing as a holocaust victim to a party.
Sam Farrell was this month elected president of the student union at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, England, and was due to take up his role in July this year.
But photographs have surfaced of Farrell dressed as a concentration camp victim at a party, which he allegedly posted on Facebook captioned with a joke about being “gassed”.
Sam wore a Holocaust costume with the no. 38451. In Auschwitz no. 38451 marked a Jew Hersch Frydman deported from Compiegne on 7 June 1942 r. He perished in the camp on 19 August 1942 at the age of 28.
— BDS Report (@BDSreport) March 24, 2020
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) circulated Farrell’s social media posts online, and shared another in which commented on the line-up for Reading festival, writing: “Pretty sure the holocaust had better headliners.”
Further screenshots posted by Edge Hill University students reportedly show Farrell mocking the LGBT+ community, trans kids and Muslims.
Farrell had already been subject to disciplinary action over previous social media posts, according to a statement from the Edge Hill Students’ Union, but now a further investigation is underway.
The statement read: “Due to new information coming to light and new evidence received by the University and the Students’ Union over the past 48 hours, new disciplinary action has also been opened against the SU President-elect as of Tuesday March 24 2020.
“The Students’ Union will be fully transparent in cooperating with University counterparts in full should they wish to begin their own investigation, and the Students’ Union itself can confirm that it will be re-examining existing and new evidence as part of a new investigation.”
It said that the result of the student union presidency election would be suspended until the new investigation had taken place, and added: “We do not underestimate the severity of this situation and the harm that the SU President-elect’s actions have caused.”
Farrell also issued an apology, in which he said: “I am deeply sorry for the hurt and pain caused by posts on my social media accounts.
“It was never my intention to deliberately offend or to make any student feel unsafe at Edge Hill campus, and it causes me great pain to think that I would make someone feel excluded from their university or Students’ Union.”
However, the UJS said that while it welcomes his apology, the new student union president still needs to be punished.
In a statement, it said that Farrell’s “consistent history of antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist and ableist social media posts deem him unfit for a role such as SU President”.
It added: “We expect Edge Hill SU’s investigation to reach the same conclusion.
“Separate to the investigation, UJS will be delivering ‘Antisemitism Awareness Training’ for the new officers of Edge Hill Students’ Union and their wider staff team, which will be an important step to ensuring Jewish students at Edge Hill are supported.”
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