The president of Southampton University Students' Union has caused controversy after saying that a “mural of white men”, which pays homage to WW1 heroes, should be painted over.
Reported by the BBC, Emily Dawes said on Twitter, in a now-deleted tweet:
Mark my words - we're taking down the mural of white men in the uni senate room, even if I have to paint over it myself.
The mural in question was painted by Sir William Rothenstein in 1916. It remembers students who lost their lives in the war and were unable to complete their degrees. The mural depicts a fallen soldier collecting his honorary degree.
Following the backlash, a petition calling on Dawes to resign from her post has been signed more than 2,500 times.
Her local MP, Royston Smith, joined the criticism, saying that it was “in poor taste” to “disregard the heroic sacrifice of soldiers who sought to defend the very freedoms, including free speech”.
A university spokesman also said that Dawes' comments “do not represent the views of the university community”.
We are very proud to display the mural, painted in 1916, which serves as a memorial to all members of British universities who served in the Great War.