The role of Chancellor is an honorary position at the University. Lord Mandelson was appointed to the role on 1 April 2016 for a five-year term. The post holds no formal power in the University—it’s awarded to someone highly respected or held in high esteem.
Well. Mandelson lost any respect from The Union and students after his comments on BBC late last week.
Would you be honoured to shake this man's hand at graduation?
As the most senior ambassador of the University, Mandelson’s choice of words was wildly out of touch with student sentiment. We are disgusted by the inflammatory and antagonistic use of the words ‘mob’ and ‘jungle’ to describe those who peacefully and without violence, removed the inanimate shrine of a murderer. The characterization evokes fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people, and taps into deeply racist rhetoric.
We summoned the Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Press, to a meeting yesterday morning to let him know The Union’s disgust at Mandelson’s comments. We explained that as students of a modern university we expect our honorary chancellor be in tune with our aspirations and needs.
(In case you missed it Chancellor, the students of MMU aspire to an end to Racism—in all forms).
The VC listened, offered assurance that there was no place for racism at MMU and committed to speaking with the chancellor later that day.
We will see what that brings.
Our personal message to Peter Mandelson: We are not impressed, you have called your ability to represent our values into question. We think you should consider stepping aside so we can focus on searching for a Chancellor who makes us proud.
What do you think? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Harry Brench for providing this article image.