STUDENTS at the University of Stirling have faced “abuse” and “harassment” after the student’s union voted to transition to entirely plant-based catering within five years.

The university’s student union became the first in the UK to commit to transitioning to 100% plant-based food when the motion was passed on November 14.

However, campaigners have since been subject to criticism from Scottish agricultural associations who have called the move “bonkers” and claimed students had been “brainwashed by bias media.”

It has now been revealed that the two students who proposed the motion have been subject to verbal abuse on campus in the wake of the decision.

One student, Imogen Maitland, 21, also found a note pinned to the door of their privately rented accommodation in Stirling.

The National: The note found pinned to the door of University of Stirling student Imogen Maitland The note found pinned to the door of University of Stirling student Imogen Maitland (Image: Imogen Maitland)

The note said: “Dear vegans, please stop forcing veganism on the uni.

“I don’t force eating a £30 McDonald’s order of big tastys and wrap of the day on you.

“I assume you also wouldn’t appreciate if I made you eat an all meat diet so don’t force a zero meat diet on us.

“If you feel the need to respond and share concerns reply below and pin to your door. Thanks, Stirling.”

Speaking to The National Maitland, an english literature and politics student, said that the backlash had been “unsettling”.

“The backlash against the motion has been unprecedented, but I am not completely shocked.

“People are very defensive when their consumer habits are directly challenged in any way, this is evident by the fact that myself and the presenter of the motion have faced verbal abuse on campus, online abuse directed at our society, and even harassment at my own home address.

“It’s been very unsettling, but also empowering, as I am glad I can continue actively challenging people’s point of view, in the most constructive, and compassionate way I can.”

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Young farmers at the University of Stirling have stated that the motion was not publicised enough and therefore did not accurately reflect the views of the student population.

One parent of a student said that “people that want to eat meat are now being discriminated against”.

But Maitland, who is part of the Plant-Based Universities campaign which has ties to animal rights group Animal Rebellion, said the motion was passed democratically.

They said: “The motion was presented at a student union meeting, where every student is absolutely welcome to attend, and passed upon everyone being called to vote on it.

“I would certainly say that this method was the most democratic way we could have passed this at Stirling uni - policies have historically been passed this way.”

The vote was passed by a 55.4% majority, with the student union president Tash Miller then defending the legitimacy of the vote, which only extends to catering outlets within the student’s union and not the entirety of the university campus.

“General meetings are open to every member of the University, so if they are a registered student, they hold an open invite to these meetings.

“We do have to meet quorum and when we meet quorate, we are representing the wider body of the Students Union and anything that is voted on is acceptable, but everyone does have the opportunity to come and vote for the motions.”

Despite the backlash the students union is expected to transition to 100% plant-based catering by 2025, with 50% of options being so by the end of the 2023-24 academic year.