Stop bans at universities

Submitted by Matthew on 11 November, 2015 - 10:29 Author: Omar Raii

The proclivity for censorship in some student unions isn’t going away.

University College London Union has refused to allow Macer Gifford to speak. He is a British man who last year travelled to Rojava, Kurdistan, to fight with the YPG against Daesh. Reasons given by the student union included that they were afraid that him speaking “could lead to others going and fighting in the conflict”.

Where does this logic end? Should no meetings be held to discuss conflicts? Should we stop the British Army having stalls at freshers’ fair in case someone goes to “fight in conflicts”? Why are soldiers allowed, but not Macer Gifford? The union apparently responded to the organisers in the Kurdish Society with the statement “in every conflict there are two sides, and at UCLU we want to avoid taking sides in conflicts.”

Student union should absolutely take stances in defence of justice in international issues, whether it be on abortion rights or opposition to repressive regimes. In any case the union has taken partisan stances in the past on issues such as Israel-Palestine, and quite rightly. A change.org petition has gathered thousands of signatures demanding that UCLU let Gifford speak. Put pressure on UCLU and other student unions to be more open to discussion.

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