Sidney Sussex Students’ Union releases statement on Christian Concern conference
Christian Concern has been widely described as homophobic and anti-abortion
The Sidney Sussex College Students’ Union (SSCSU) have released a statement condemning the college’s hosting of Christian Concern, a group that has been widely criticised as homophobic and transphobic.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Sidney Sussex were hosting the ‘Wilberforce Academy’ camp, organised by Christian Concern. The group holds a variety of controversial views, including the belief that homosexuality is a sin.
Today, SSCSU president Francesca Jenkins released a statement on behalf of the student union’s executive committee, condemning both the group and the college for compromising “the safe and welcoming environment we aim to maintain”.
The statement, sent to students of Sidney Sussex and to the press, began by criticising the views of the organisation.
“Sidney Sussex College Student Union celebrates the diversity of its student community and strives to make sure all its members feel welcome and accepted.”
“However, the current Wilberforce Academy Conference hosted by Christian Concern has compromised the safe and welcoming environment we aim to maintain. This is because they hold views that deny the very identity of many of our members. This has appalled members of the Sidney community, of all faiths, as well as the wider university. Over 300 university members have signed a petition expressing their outrage that College has hosted this conference group.”
“We are naturally advocates of free speech but by the same token refuse to tolerate speech which threatens the experience of our colleagues.”
“Whilst conference guests do not reflect the views of Sidney Sussex College, hosting them implicitly provides them with legitimacy that other conference venues would not provide.”
Francesca went on to remind students of the need for the university and college to pride itself on both inclusiveness and integrity.
“The University of Cambridge is unique in that it is a world renowned institution that prides itself on progress, integrity and inclusiveness.”
“Moreover, Sidney is not only an academic institution but a home for our students throughout the year. It is a place where students should always feel comfortable to be themselves. ”
SSCSU have promised further action on the issue, following the release of a petition condemning Christian Concern.
“We will therefore be taking further action to ensure Sidney remains a welcoming and inclusive environment. We have already begun productive conversations with the college to achieve this. We are proud of our long tradition of celebrating diversity and will continue to do so.”
“We would like to reassure our incoming Freshers that Sidney is a safe and welcoming community for all. We cannot wait to welcome you into our Sidney family.”