Christian Union Feels The Heat

International attention forces Bristol’s Christian Union to invite women to speak at all society events

In the face of mounting pressure, Bristol University’s Christian Union has announced women will now be allowed to speak at all CU events.

The announcement suggests a change in policy from a ban which previously denied women the opportunity to speak unaccompanied at weekly meetings, weekends away or at mission camps which had allegedly been in place for at least seven years.

However, it remains unclear whether women must continue to have their husbands present or whether they will now be allowed to speak independently.

The ban, first reported in The Tab, was picked up by several national newspapers, and provoked widespread condemnation of the student society.

In response, the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) issued a statement claiming that ‘it would be wholly against the spirit and intention of the UCCF Basis of Faith and the advice of UCCF staff if an individual CU devised a policy not to have women speakers for some or all of their events’.

Now, Bristol CU has supposedly altered its original position and confirmed they ‘will extend speaker invitations to both women and men, to all BUCU events, without exception’.

Given there has previously been resistance within the CU to allowing women speakers, it is currently unclear whether any senior figures will resign over the issue. One former committee member has already stepped down in protest at previous concessions made to women speakers.

BUCU will hope the change satisfies those who accused the society of failing to adhere to the Union’s Equality Policy, which requires all affiliated societies to avoid discrimination of any kind.