Rangoon University Students Union


Rangoon University Students Union
   (RUSU)
   Established as a student body organization in the 1920s to promote campus life, RUSU played a central role in the political struggles of the 1930s and after Burma became independent in 1948. The election of Ko Nu as its president in 1935 marked the beginning of its radical phase. When he and Ko Aung San, editor of the RUSU magazine and member of its executive committee, were expelled from Rangoon (Yangon) University in 1936 for opposing the university's British authorities, a RUSU-organized student strike led to their reinstatement. Both RUSU and a new student organization, the All Burma Students Union, supported the Oil Field Workers' Strike of 1938. After World War II, RUSU was strongly influenced by the Communist Party of Burma; in the 1950s, leadership of the union was bitterly contested by procommunist students and the "Democratic Students Organization," which was sponsored by the Socialist Party. During the Caretaker Government period (1958-1960), many procommunist students were arrested, some being exiled to the Cocos Islands.
   After the establishment of the Revolutionary Council in March 1962, Ne Win took a hard line against student activism. In the early morning following the July 7, 1962 incident, in which many students were killed by Tatmadaw troops, the RUSU building on the edge of the university campus was demolished, allegedly on orders from Ne Win, although he blamed Brigadier Aung Gyi. During the demonstrations of 1988 there were demands that RUSU be reestablished and its historic brick building rebuilt. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, the place where the building stood remains vacant and fenced off.
   See also Education, Higher.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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