Netiwit elected to lead Chula student council

Netiwit elected to lead Chula student council

Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal holds a sign denouncing mandatory conscription as ‘obsolete and unnecessary’ at a conscription unit at Wat Rat Phothong in Samut Prakan where he went to seek student deferment of his military service on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal holds a sign denouncing mandatory conscription as ‘obsolete and unnecessary’ at a conscription unit at Wat Rat Phothong in Samut Prakan where he went to seek student deferment of his military service on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

A campaigner against certain traditions and rules has been elected president of Chulalongkorn University's Student Council.

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, 21, won 27 of all 36 votes from representatives of the faculties on Thursday.

Mr Netiwit, a political science student, said in an interview on Facebook Live he was glad to have been elected and believed it was about time Thailand's education system move forward as the country remained in a dictatorial grip.

"I'm ready to act as a model so that Chula's student council sets an example for youth councils all over the country," he said.

The first thing he would do after taking the position on June 1 is to reform hazing by reducing violence. "The rights of juniors must be respected. Seniors must not oppress juniors,"

On prostrating before images, he said those who didn't want to do so must have some space by being allowed to stand while paying respects.

He also pledged to listen to all voices in Chula -- from students and lecturers to management -- regardless of what they feel about him.

Mr Netiwit, who describes himself as "conscientious objector", is one of the few youths who campaign for reforms of established rules or traditions including mandatory conscription. 

He also campaigns for democracy, freedom of speech and the right to bail for all.

In October 2016, Mr Netiwit invited Joshua Wong for talks at Chula but Mr Wong was barred from entering the country. The Hong Kong activist ended up joining the seminar through Skype in the evening.

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