A student at the University of Lincoln had to take down comments he made on Facebook after they were reported to the Students’ Union. Fraser McFarland, Chairman of the Conservative Future for Lincoln and a Tory candidate in the upcoming local elections, had to make an embarrassing retraction on his Facebook profile. It read: “I am deeply sorry for my remarks about the Students’ Union […] and deeply regret any upset caused by my opinion.”
McFarland had previously used Facebook to comment on Lincoln’s SU. He said: “…please stop sending me invites for people’s SU campaigns as I don’t care, never have cared and never will care about the Students’ Union.” McFarland also made defamatory comments about the student officer elect, Dan Derricott, who he alleges reported his comments. Derricott refused to comment.
McFarland, speaking to the Linc, said: “I do regret making the original comments.” He also stated: “I would like to retract my comments about Dan” but made no apology for them. The Linc highlighted to McFarland that his retraction should refer to his original comments as “untrue” rather than “opinion”, so as not to qualify his retraction. He chose not to comment on this matter.
Although regretting his first set of comments, McFarland was forthcoming in his criticism of the SU and their handling of his society: “The Students’ Union needs reforming due to the problems we have faced with them this year, including not being allowed a Freshers’ Fayre stall last September and Conservative Future members being threatened with removal from campus by security staff for handing out leaflets to students about joining a political party.”
He also went on to say: “We have had several other problems with the Students’ Union and are shocked by their lack of [willingness in] helping us, even though we are helping students to get involved with politics at the university, even though there’s a large politics department at the University.”
McFarland also said: “The views I gave at any time are my personal views and not those of Lincoln Conservative Association or the Conservative Party.” Dan Windross, the current Communications Officer for the Students’ Union, chose not to respond to the allegations brought to him.
The Director of Student Services, Judith Carey, who intervened on behalf of the SU, said: “The university and the Students’ Union were concerned about the serious nature of a comment posted by a student on Facebook, and invited him to have an informal discussion about these concerns. The student advised the university during this informal meeting that he had already removed the comments from Facebook having taken personal advice. The university and the student agreed that the matter was closed.”
In January this year, the former chairman of Staffordshire Conservative Future and University of London student, Matthew Lewis, was expelled from the party for boasting on Facebook that he dressed up as Madeleine McCann for a bad-taste private party.Tweet