Westboro Baptist Church UoN society event cancelled following student pressure
A petition against the event received over 800 signatures
The University of Nottingham’s PPE society has cancelled an event which was set to welcome a guest from the Westboro Baptist Church, following student pressure.
The PPE society made the announcement via their Facebook page, stating that “student well-being comes first, and since the event comprises this, we cannot rationally go ahead with it.”
However, the society continues to defend their “intentions with regard to the event” and say their aims were to “expose their absurdity”.
The Westboro Baptist Church—a group well known for featuring on Louis Theroux documentary ‘The Most Hated Family in America’ and widely known for their intolerant views on homosexuality—were set to be guest speakers at the PPE Society’s event; described as the first installment of a “series exploring the nature of intolerance” that the society is running.
Students spoke out against the event, telling The Nottingham Tab that the invitation for the Westboro Baptist Church to speak at UoN felt “sickening” and “hurtful”. “I personally am not comfortable with allowing these types of groups the opportunity to spread their harmful rhetoric and legitimise their standing,” a second year politics student said.
A petition demanding the group be barred from speaking reached over 800 signatures. Signatories expressed their objections in the comments, one calling the invite “despicable” and, another, “disgusting”.
Despite cancelling the event, the society stand by their “intentions with regard to the event” and say their aims were to “expose their absurdity”. However, they note, “student well-being comes first”.
Commenting on the situation, LGBT+ officer, Samuel Boath, via Facebook said: “As a network we were astonished to see the approval of the Westboro church event…I am relieved for the PPE society cancelling the event due to listening to many students reactions and petitioning.
“However, in the first instance this should have not been approved by the university, nor the society establishing an event with an organisation who discriminate and is against everything this network, students, officers, the SU and many other individuals fight for – inclusivity and empowerment.”