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‘Safe Space Marshals’ have been monitoring KCLSU events for two years – why has it only just come to light?

Marshals at the Jacob Rees-Mogg talk sparked national controversy

Students are known to go to any influential speaker event in order to hear opinions on various situations and policies. Whilst one would hope that these opinions would be politically correct and generally non-offensive, the fact remains that everyone is entitled to their own opinions whatever they are, and it is these opinions that everyone who attended chose willingly to listen to.

This week, the Conservative Society organised a talk featuring the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, but did not attract an audience to this event in order to hear a regulated and policed (by 'safe-space monitors' at the price of £12 an hour) talk where because of this, they might not be able to gauge fully with Rees-Mogg's ideas.

At said event, when referring to 'safe space' during his talk, Rees-Mogg alluded to the House of Commons and how a pivotal part of everyday politics are debates on different policies by opposing parties. "The job of the opposition is to oppose".

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It has now been made clear to The Tab King's that the 'safe space marshals' have been around for the past couple of years, with the publicising of their employment only appearing at the talk last week. It would now appear that the KCLSU is trying to discourage students' rights to full discussion through the use of "safe-space", with the excuse being that they don't want to risk student's taking offence at what is being said.

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KCL Safe Space Policy

The Tab King's reached out to the President of the Conservative Society, Sam Barrett, to hear that his initial reactions of being made aware of the presence of the Marshals was "totally unnecessary and counter intuitive. It's a huge waste of resources both material and human, not to mention it being contrary to the principles of free and open debate.

"I'm glad the press have picked up on it, many students feel as though the safe space infringes on free speech, we don't want the potential consequences of censoring ideas and stifling free speech."

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It was also made aware to The Tab King's that the King's Libertarian Society, as a result of this recent press, have furthered their campaign against the employment for the Marshals. This has been in the planning for "at least the past two academic years." Two academic years. Where has the information been kept around our university? A spokesperson told The Tab that the "campaign is to abolish the Safe Space policy which the Marshals are given the job of implementing and overseeing during student events.

"After three Safe Space Marshals and dozens of printed out sheets of the Policy were enforced on Jacob Rees-Mogg's address to KCLCA, we are pleased that the issue of the Student Union interfering in Society events is finally coming to light.

"Rees-Mogg is an elected member of Parliament and there is no reason why a university should view him as a threat to student safety. As students, we should be able to freely associate and discuss ideas on our own terms."

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KCLSU have been contacted for a comment, but it should have been made clear to us as students, current and new, that the KCLSU had this plan in place, as we have many questions. To what events does this limit to? Who thought of the ideas? How many other universities have introduced these kind of marshals? How will this ultimately affect our sense of liberation on campus?

Stay tuned to find out more about this investigation, as led by The Tab King's.