Pro-life and Christian groups should not be denied affiliation with their university students’ unions, the chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has said.
Criticizing student unions who have denied requests by such groups to be affiliated with the student body, participate at Freshers’ Fairs, or book rooms for club events, David Isaac said the actions of the student unions were “not consistent with ensuring freedom of speech on campus, and the EHRC guidance makes clear that it should not happen”.
Speaking at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Isaac said universities should be “bastions of debate and defenders of expression”.
Isaac said some university student unions were “promoting their own very narrow policies which don’t extend the principles of freedom of expression,” saying “one has to remind students’ unions, and the universities in which those students’ unions sit, about their current legal obligations which I think would allow affiliations of pro-life organisations and groups”.
“We are living in an age of hypersensitivity where it is increasingly easier for people to feel offended – or others to be worried about protecting minority groups.”
Recently, the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society was denied affiliation with its university by the students’ association until they threatened the association with a lawsuit.
The Glasgow Students for Life also faced the same predicament and were similarly accepted after threatening legal action.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund