Thus diminished as people and as students

There’s a petition you can sign:

Petitioning University of Manchester Student Union: Let Julie Bindel speak at the University of Manchester!

The University of Manchester’s Students’ Union has banned Julie Bindel from speaking at an event called “From Liberation to Censorship: does Modern Feminism have a Problem with Free Speech?” to be held on University premises on 15 October.

Credit: Elena Heatherwick

Her presence “was flagged as potentially in breach of our safe space policy. After reviewing the request in more detail, the Students’ Union has decided to deny this request based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.”
We reject this on the following grounds:
1) Julie Bindel was allowed by the Students’ Union to speak at the University of Manchester in 2013 for a debate hosted by the Manchester Debating Union. She dropped out because of threats, but the Students’ Union did not ban her at the time. We don’t understand why this time should be different.

2) The Free Speech and Secular Society was at no point consulted or involved in the vetting procedure. No attempts to mediate have been made by the Students’ Union.

3) The position on trans issues of Julie Bindel are of no interest in these circumstances, as the debate is not intended to touch upon trans issues.

4) Julie Bindel has apologised for some of her most controversial articles (…/julie-bindel…/) highlighting how a free and open debate can change minds and hearts.

5) The ban is clearly in breach of with the University of Manchester’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech, in particular sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.3.5, and 3.4. The breach of such regulation may be deemed an offence under section (8.i) of the University of Manchester’s Regulation XVII (Student Conduct and Discipline).
Speakers far more controversial and “offensive” than Julie have been permitted and even suggested by the SU on previous occasions. Yet they have decided to apply the principles of the safe space policy now and on us. We feel that the manner in which it has been done is at best sloppy on their part, and at worst inconsistent to the point that it suggests an abuse of power.

Bindel is being banned from speaking on feminism and censorship because of views she expressed in the past on trans issues, a completely unrelated topic, which might [have] “incited hatred towards trans-people”. In the view of the Students’ Union, the mere presence on campus of someone who once expressed “bad” opinions is enough to incite hatred. It is hard to see who could not be banned on such grounds.
We demand that the event be allowed on campus in its original format and a full apology to be promptly made to Julie Bindel and to the Free Speech and Secular Society.
The freedom to express a controversial or challenging opinion is held equally and by all. Without this freedom we are robbed of the ability to refute or confirm the views that we have formed, and are thus diminished as people and as students.

Please, support us!
Leonardo Carella
Free Speech and Secular Society

One reason the petition doesn’t mention is the fact that Milo Yiannopoulos, who is far more likely to “incite hatred” than Julie Bindel has ever been, even before she apologized for the 2004 article, was not no-platformed. Why did the SU ban a radical feminist lesbian while not banning a radical anti-feminist misogynist straight guy? Why does the SU consider Julie Bindel some kind of threat while it considers Milo Yiannopoulos safe enough to be allowed to speak?

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