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Student leaders ban Christian Union from Oxford college’s freshers’ fair

Balliol College, Oxford (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Students at an Oxford college have protested after their representatives tried to ban the Christian Union (CU) from a freshers’ fair.

Balliol College’s Junior Common Room (JCR), which represents undergraduates, refused the CU a stall, according to student newspaper Cherwell. The JCR reportedly feared a Christian stall would be “harmful” to students because of Christianity’s links with “neo-colonialism” and “homophobia”.

But students proposed a motion that condemned the JCR leadership for “barring the participation of specific faith-based organisations” and committing “a violation of free speech [and] a violation of religious freedom”. The motion was passed unanimously.

JCR president Hubert Au wrote on Facebook that the JCR later modified its policy, allowing a stall at which several religious societies could be represented. He wrote: “Ultimately, it was reached to have a multifaith stall rather than a CU stall specifically.”

He added: “We didn’t want to monopolise the presence of any individual faith/belief society.”

The Christian Union, a mainly Evangelical group, has representatives at all of Oxford’s colleges.