The Scottish Conservative party has suspended the party memberships of two students at the University of St Andrews pending an investigation following online comments revealed by The Saint today.
The extreme and offensive online comments were made by members and former members of the University of St Andrews Conservative and Unionist Association (STAUCA).
The two students who have been suspended are Elliot Jordan, a member of the society and East of Scotland Chair for Conservative Future Scotland (CFS), the youth wing of the Scottish Conservatives, and Konstantin Velichkov, Postgraduate Representative for the society.
The comments range from offensive remarks against transgender people, Muslims, and female politicians to generally extremist views.
On a Facebook status Ian Donnell, a former student, president of the society, and former chairman of Conservative Future Scotland said, “The world really has gone mad. I asked it to stop and let me off when I heard about Gender Neutral bathrooms but now people are mourning the loss of Firing Squad [Fidel] Castro. Please just stop.”
On the same status Mr Velichkov commented, referring to trans women at the University who make use of its gender neutral bathrooms as “men in dresses.”
Finally Mr Jordan endorsed a post on Twitter using the word “tr*nny,” a derogatory slur for trans people.
Ryan Hay, the Students’ Association’s LGBT+ officer, commented on the offensive remarks, saying, “I’d like to just respond with our mission statement, which is that Saints LGBT+, and by extension the Students’ Association, is opposed to any and all discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is our job to make sure that LGBT+ people feel safe and comfortable in St Andrews, and to ensure that the Union is a safe space for all students, and we take that role very seriously.
“We’re delighted that TransFest, our groundbreaking festival of gender identity (now in its second year), is coming up on 15-19 November and this should be a real chance for trans/ non-binary students to use their voices and to see that they are a valued and respected part of the St Andrews community.
“Students who may have been affected by these comments, or anyone struggling with gender identity, can get in touch with Saints LGBT+ through Facebook or by emailing saintslgbt@ to find out about how we might be able to help.
“Alternatively, Nightline and Student Services are both trained on a diverse range of LGBT+ issues if people would prefer that kind of support.”
Members of the society also made and endorsed offensive remarks about female politicians. Calum Richardson, a former student and member of the society’s committee, posted that Mhairi Black should be “returned to the donkey sanctuary.”
Mr Jordan furthermore endorsed a post on Twitter referring to Hillary Clinton as a “cackling… witch.” The tweet in question was posted by Paul Joseph Watson, an extreme far right online personality who serves as an editor-at-large for the conspiracist website InfoWars, known for manufacturing conspiracies about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, among other conspiracies.
These comments are puerile and abhorrent and will be seen as such by the majority of students
It was one of several tweets by Mr Watson liked by members of STAUCA.
Several offensive posts and remarks against Muslim people have also been revealed.
Mr Jordan furthermore accused London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to be elected to run a major Western capital, of being “terrorist accepting” on Twitter.
Mr Jordan also expressed sadness when Geert Wilders was predicted to lose the Dutch elections.
Mr Wilders is known for his far right-wing tendencies and asserted that up to 15 per cent of all Muslims were extremists, Mr Wilders has also compared the Quran to Mein Kampf.
Mr Jordan has also endorsed the tweets and publications of English Defence League founder and anti-Muslim campaigner Tommy Robinson.
Several generally extreme right-wing remarks, generally considered to be outside mainstream views in the Conservatives, were also made by members of the society online.
On abortion, Earlier this year Mr Jordan posted to Facebook, “I pray that someday those who have had practices, undergone, legislated for and campaigned for abortion will be tried and executed as criminals against humanity.”
Mr Jordan represents the East of Scotland for Conservative Future Scotland, the sister organisation of the suspended Conservative Future.
Conservative Future was ended in 2015 following allegations of sexual crime, bullying, and blackmail against the executive committee.
On climate change, Mr Velichkov also asserted that man-made climate change was not real and called climate change activists “Gaia worshiping alarmists.”
Mr Velichkov also blamed the 2016 Munich shootings on immigrants. Blaming “the new Volkswanderung” (a term meaning the “migration of people”) an apparent reference to the refugee crisis, the incident did not involve refugees or migrants.
Mr Velichkov furthermore routinely mocks the mourners of victims of terrorist attacks. In response to the Machester attack earlier this year he tweeted, “Not to worry, just tweet #WeStandTogether, light a candle and sing ‘Imagine’, and it will all go away… right?”
Following a post by the London Metropolitan Police on Twitter in the wake of the Westminster terrorist attack which read, “Please use common sense and restraint in circulating pictures and videos of those that have been injured during the incident,” Mr Velichkov questioned why this was important.
Mr Velichkov has mocked mourners of the Berlin Christmas market attack, as well as the 2017 Manchester attack.
In May of this year, a bomb was detonated in the foyer of Manchester Arena at an Ariana Grande concert, 250 people were injured and 22 killed. The youngest victim was eight years old.
In December of 2016, 11 pedestrians were killed and 56 more injured when a hijacked truck was deliberately driven into a Christmas market in Berlin.
The online posts have been condemned by the University, with a spokesperson saying, “These comments as reported are puerile and abhorrent and will be seen as such by the majority of students.”
Mr Jordan issued The Saint with a statement regarding his online views, however later opted to retract it before publication.
The Saint also reached out to STAUCA, Mr Velichkov, Mr Donnell, and Mr Richardson for a comment.
No response in regards to their online comments was received by The Saint.