Yesterday wrote about this poster, advertising the London South Bank Atheist Society (SBAS), which was banned from being displayed at a refreshers fair (second term freshers fair essentially).
►LSBSU reply to Incident involving South Bank Atheist Society
11th February 2014 5:31 pm
“As a Students’ Union we encourage and promote debate of all religious, political and social issues. We will always listen and respond to complaints made to us by our students but we do not condone censorship; we encourage and promote debate of all religious, political and social issues at the Students’ Union.”
“We would like to state that the incident reported arose as a result of the interaction of individuals at a student-led event. It does not the reflect the policy of the Students’ Union.”
“No individual or student group is being or has been banned from Union activity. We will be meeting with the President of the Atheist Society this week to discuss what happened, any concerns she may have and how we can continue supporting them and their members.”
“As a student-led organisation, we want to see all of our societies develop and grow and we will be contacting all of the societies to ensure that they are able to feedback any concerns they may have and work with us in future to ensure we continue offering them the right level of support and representation.”
Students’ Union President
London South Bank Students’ Union
Note that this is involving the Student Union (SU), rather than the University as they pointed out on twitter:
My point is based that two hours after statement nothing on twitter still from the Student Union who did not even use twitter to promote. The statement itself makes no mention of the poster being prevented from being displayed, and whether this was sanctioned by an employee/agent of the Student Union, and whether such action would be in breach of their policy.
As LSBA commented on statement:
SBAS displayed the well-known image of the FSM on their pre-prepared stall the day before the freshers’ fair last week but when they returned to the stall the following day found that the posters had been removed. When they went to print some more to replace the missing posters they were stopped by union representatives who said that the posters had been deemed offensive and that it was the union that had removed them. Initially SBAS were told that it was the visibility of Adam’s genitals that was offensive but when SBAS offered to blur them out, they were told the problem was religious offence, because it was based on religious art. Their stall was removed by the student union authorities the next day and their official complaint against this action was still unanswered by the time the fair was over, preventing them from exhibiting.
President of South Bank Atheist Society Cloe Ansari commented ‘This incident is just one of a catalogue of attempts to censor our society. I never expected to face such blatant censorship and fragile sensibilities at university, I thought this would be an institution where I could challenge beliefs and in turn be challenged. All I have seen is religious sensibilities trumping all other rights with no space for argument, challenge or reasoned debate. It is not what I expected when I came to university.’
Cloe Ansari has it spot on – this is not how a university that promotes argument, challenge and debate behaves. Regrettable that an investigation is needed before the University or the Student Union can say this poster should not have been removed in the first place.
A balls up regarding Adam’s genitals. Religious offence photoshopping God as a Flying Spaghetti Monster. The prevention of a Society exhibiting at a refresher fair apparently not the same as banning Union activity – when a principle activity of a society is to get members.
Flaccid response by the Student Union, as Michelangelo might have depicted.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog