In a statement released late tonight, they wrote:
Warwick SU has a process for assessing any potential risks or legal issues associated with any external speaker, and it is now very clear to us that in this case that process has not been followed. Speaker invitations that may involve such issues are routinely considered by the SU President, who will also take advice from senior SU staff. This did not happen on this occasion. Neither the SU President, nor senior SU staff, were consulted as they should have been. This is a significant error for which there can be no excuse. There is a great deal that we now must put right, …
Among these things to put right, is to ensure the event goes ahead as planned by Warwick Atheist Secular and Humanist Society, and issuing an apology to Maryam.
They ended on a positive note:
We want to assure everyone of Warwick Students’ Union’s continued commitment to free speech. We also want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who has expressed concern, or disappointment, or who has been hurt by this significant error and, as we said above, we will be issuing a full and unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie.
Maryam, thank you for all the hard work you have put into secularism, equality and freedom. It was the very least any of us could have done in appreciation, to mention how important it is for your voice to be heard on these issues.
Update: As The British Humanist Association point out (follow link for more), this incident is hardly unique:
The Warwick incident is the latest in a long line of overly censorious actions by universities and students’ unions. Other incidents in recent years include UCL Union banning a ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon from appearing on a UCL AHS [Atheist Humanist Society] Facebook event poster; a talk by an anti-sharia activist at Queen Mary AHS being cancelled as a result of death threats; Reading University AHS being ejected by their Union from their freshers’ fair as a result of a pineapple being labelled ‘Mohammed’; LSE AHS being threatened with election from their freshers’ fair by their Union and University if they did not cover up Jesus and Mo t-shirts; and London South Bank AHS having posters taken down by their Union that featured the flying spaghetti monster.
In every case after the incident, the Union and/or University has backed down and apologised after the relevant incident.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog