Is anyone at UEA really that offended by sombreros?

We’re in the worst possible category for freedom of speech


At this point we’ve all heard that the Spiked Rankings placed UEA in the worst possible category for freedom of speech, stating the university “has banned and actively censored ideas on campus”.

It’s hardly news at this point. Even in the SU’s divine wisdom it’s impossible to argue against the mass of charges, though apparently not impossible to be proud of them.

The SU Ministry of Truth involves itself in active censorship: from the banning of newspapers that don’t subscribe to their world view, to spirited efforts to stop any members of parliament from exchanging ideas which might lead students to the right of Corybn.

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“You can report and remove this again if you wish, but you cant get rid of the UEA banditos” (From Yik Yak)

It would seem that according to the UEASU the student population are too intellectually feeble to possibly make up their minds on such dangerous issues and ideas.

So what, just ignore them, they don’t really affect us do they? But it does matter, fostering an anti-academic environment on campus is contrary to the reason we end up sat in the TPSC for a 9am. Thomas Paine (the guy the building is named after) himself would be turning in his grave at the mass infantilisation of our students:

“When men yield up the exclusive privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”

We should be engaging with controversial views so we can learn from them. Not forming a list of ‘correct’ beliefs to hold. The fascistic SU appears to have reserved the right to be offended on our behalf in order to shut down ‘problematic’ debates.

After all “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” If the views are not sensible they should be aired and ridiculed. Fair enough right?

The farcical banning of Sombreros may seem mostly daft and harmless, but ultimately the reputation of the university is compromised by the Union’s attempt to play politics.

Telling someone that you are studying at UEA results in a toss-up between them making a joke about sombreros or asking what it’s like to live Dubai. We must change that, we owe it to UEA and to each other to rebuild a sensible Students’ Union.

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Many find democracy offensive, many find freedom of speech offensive and many equality too. The current SU seem to find all of the above to be the case.

Don’t let them tell you it’s under a democratic mandate when there are officers like Liam McCafferty who stood unopposed and still couldn’t even get 2.5% of the potential votes. Or where the council members are ostensibly elected by their respective societies or subject schools.

For our legacy, reputation and self-respect as an academic institution and as a student body: stand, campaign and vote in student elections, sign petitions and fight to salvage our University from the radicals.