New Free Speech Controversy Hits Campus

An unlikely coalition of UCLU Societies fights attempts to clamp down on free speech.

The Buzz UCLU

In an exclusive investigation on Tuesday, The Buzz revealed the beginnings of a free-speech controversy on campus.

In a new twist The Buzz can now reveal the true extent of the discontent bubbling across UCL.

Numerous Committee members from a variety of UCL societies have stated their support for a letter to the Board of Trustees which criticise certain aspects of the new pro choice motion.

The societies range from the Tennis Society to the German Society to the Business Society to the Arabian Society.

It is also thought that members of UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society are backing the letter alongside the Catholic and Jewish Societies.

The students are worried that whilst well intentioned, the wording of Motion would for the first time in UCL's history, allow the Union to ban students and speakers from expressing their beliefs even if they are within the boundaries of free-speech.

To divide speakers in a debate on abortion between "pro-choice" and "anti-choice" has also been branded as "ridiculous" by some students.

The coalition of societies calls itself the "I'm Every-Choice" group, to show that the personal views of students range from pro-choice to pro-life and everything in between.

Hannes Ansorg, President of the UCLU Economics and Finance Society, explained his support of the letter to the Board of Trustees by stating:

"Quite simply, the Union should not be able to impose speakers on different societies, forcibly categorise students or limit free speech in complex debates. The wording of the motion allows the Union to do all of these things."

The Buzz can now also reveal that the Union has responded to the letter to the Board of Trustees by admitting that the motion does violate Union bi-laws. Union sources are said to be urgently seeking legal advice to clarify the status of other parts of the motion.

The current controversy comes just weeks after attempts by the Union to censor a Facebook events page of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society.

The Buzz will continue to report all the twists and turns in this free-speech controversy as they happen.