Students abused and threatened with University disciplinary action for having a UKIP sign outside their house.
As students we like to think that university is an arena for free speech and political debate (well maybe for a few of us at least).
But when two UoB students excercised their democratic right to place a ‘Only Conservative and UKIP leaflets only!’ sign inside their porch, they were met with abuse and threats.
The students decided to put up the sign in the run up to the European Parliament Elections taking place later this month, in order to prevent piles of unwanted political leaflets mounting up.
However this act was met with abuse and in some cases threatening behaviour.
A Selly Oak postman even took it upon himself to brand the students ‘rich, upper class dicks’ before storming off, not waiting to hear the reply of the bewildered students.
One student with a UoB hoodie also approached the house claiming that the sign was ‘offensive’ and threatened them with university disciplinary action. Yet she refused to specify who could be offended or why they would be, not giving the students a chance to defend themselves.
Since this was posted on the Birmingham Tell Him/Her page the students have been called ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ by other students, for simply sympathising with some of the views of a mainstream political party.
Keen to discuss their decision to create the sign, the students said: “Just because we are open to some UKIP policies does not make us ‘closet racists’, as some have claimed.”
In response to the abuse they have received, one of the students added: “I am a Conservative personally, but I am open minded to UKIP policies and am perfectly entitled to express this viewpoint.
“I’m sure students are aware of the amount of junk mail that is posted through student letter boxes, so we were simply trying to filter the junk mail whilst expressing our views.”
However despite their request for a sensible and civilised debate, they have been subject to further abuse with little room for discussion.
The students have been subject to a series of trespassing incidents, where students have attempted to remove the sign from their door, by attempting to enter the porch.
This leaflet (shown below) was even posted through their mailbox, clearly defaced with graffiti and marked with a number of annotations including a Swastika, and obvious allusions to the Nazi party.
We are not only seeing this attack on UKIP supporters in Selly but also nationally from the press and the political establishment.
This incident is but one example of a number attacks upon UKIP supporters over the last few weeks, in what appears to be a growing smear campaign against the party.
In the run up to the EP elections and the proceeding General Election in a year’s time, the debate looks set to intensify.