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Pro choice society forced to move event amid fears of protest

The University believed there was a ‘risk of protest’ at the event

A talk by a pro-choice speaker planned to be held in a Cardiff University building has been moved to the Students' Union, after the University said it would require security costs to be paid for the event.

The Students' Union will now be paying for security at the event.

This follows on campus protests by CBR UK, a pro-life group, following the Students' Union's adoption of an official pro-choice stance.

Dr Pam Lowe, a lecturer from Aston University, had been invited to give a pro-choice talk by the new pro-choice society which has been set up by the proposer of the pro-choice motion Isadora Sinha.

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Isadora Sinha, President of the SU's new pro-choice society

After requesting a university room for the event, the pro-choice society were told by the Students' Union that the university would have felt the need to have "multiple members of Security staff present at the event".

They said this was "not due to the event itself, but more due to the potential reaction of others external to the group. The University has a commitment to ensuring the safety of its students and this is being prioritised in this case".

The event is now being held in the Students' Union, who are hiring Showsec Security, which "comes at less cost to the Union than the University's contracted staff members".

The Students' Union is paying for this security, saying this is due to the fact it is the society's first event and to ensure the safety of members.

They have said that in any future events the cost of security will be charged to the pro-choice society.

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Pro-choice students have previously held counter-protests to CBR

The talk, entitled 'The Meanings and Motivations of the UK Anti-Abortion Movement' will now be taking place on Wednesday 12th February at 4:30PM in room 4J of the Students' Union.

The pro-choice society says Dr Pam will give her insight on anti-abortion groups and "what attitudes towards abortion in the UK really are" to help students to "support the pro-choice movement within the university- especially in regards to CBR UK, who have been intimidating students."

Isadora Sinha was just on BBC Studios' Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 talking about Cardiff University Students'​ Union's…

Posted by Cardiff University Pro-Choice Society on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

SU President, Jackie Yip has released a statement saying CBR's "disgusting protest tactic" is "interfering in our student democracy".

She added that their protests are taking place "in a public space that neither the Union or University manage. Moving them on isn't as simple as it seems if they are not on private ground".

She added the SU are "speaking to the local Council, the University and the police to build a case that these actions are causing undue distress and trauma to our students".

She encouraged students to ring 101 upon seeing CBR, saying if more calls are logged it will help build a case against CBR.

*Statement regarding CBR/ protests* I am equally as distressed and frustrated by the actions of CBR. Whilst this group…

Posted by Jackie Yip SU on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Cardiff University spokesperson said:

"The risk of protest and the impact on teaching and learning were identified at this event. The cost of security, outside of normal University security working patterns, is the responsibility of the event organiser to meet. If the organiser can meet the additional requirements then the event can go ahead. The outcome was communicated to the Students’ Union".

The Cardiff Tab contacted CBR UK for comment, but have not received a response upon publication of this article.

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