I would like to ask the Executive Team the following:
I have noticed that under the Equality and Diversity Scheme, no mention was made of the Armed Forces Day/week in June 2012. As we have many students from and collaboration with the services – I wondered if this was an oversight or a political decision? Many other groups and communities of the public seem to get a mention but our Armed Forces always seem to be forgotten.
Additionally, I have found that the University does not usually advertise Armistice Day on 11th November (except for a small mention of a church service) and last year there was not a single poppy on sale within the University, that I could find.
Perhaps many people don’t like to be reminded of conflicts around the world and indeed, not all agree with them, myself included. However, as an ex British service person I certainly would not mind sharing a celebration day with any other servicemen or women from around the globe whether they are classed as friend or foe. After all, anyone who chooses to serve their country are patriotic and proud.
I know there is a political issue here, but shouldn’t we be embracing every member of the community? Patriotism is not a crime in any country that I know of.
The University is currently reviewing the annual calendar of events that the University participates in, to ensure we support and acknowledge activities important to the university, the students and the region, as well as supporting National and International causes and events.
Armed Forces Day/Week is a relatively new celebration that the UK has committed to – strengthened this year with the Jubilee. We will therefore ensure that we support these dates in future. In terms of Armistice, we will continue our remembrance and will look at where the University is represented at the services that take place within the region. We will work with Students Union on the sale of Poppies.
Of note, Michael Gunn earlier in the year, attended the National Memorial Arboretum to take part in the signing of a local Armed Forces Community Covenant. The Covenant was instigated by Staffordshire County Council to bring together a commitment of local organisations for the purpose of encouraging support for the Armed Forces community that works and lives in Staffordshire.