Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union are set to renew their no-platform policy

It will be debated at SU Council tomorrow


The no-platform policy at Sheffield Hallam Students' Union is set to be renewed on Thursday, subject to a debate in an SU Council meeting tomorrow.

As the policy was first passed three years ago, so is now up for renewal this week with an official renewal date of 9th November.

No Platform is a policy of the NUS and was proposed as a motion at Hallam Union by current President Luke Renwick in November 2014.

It reads: "…'no platforming' a speaker(s) does not legally breach any current government legislation.

"Under the Equalities Act 2010, we are required to prevent discrimination against the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, [and] sexual orientation."

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The full no-platforming resolution

The policy continues: "Sheffield Hallam Students' Union resolves not to allow any individual who is known to hold racist or fascist views from entering union premises…[or] to speak at a union event."

Racism and fascism are both defined in line with the Free Dictionary definitions of these concepts, which are as follows:"Racism is the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races or discriminatory/abusive behaviour towards members of another race.

"Fascism is a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

The renewal of no platforming comes shortly after Universities Minister Jo Johnson told unis to clamp down on Students' Unions with "no platform" policies, which he believes are against freedom of speech.

The newly created Office for Students (OfS) may soon be allowed to fine, suspend or register universities "that fail to protect freedom of speech on campus".

Peter Tatchell and Boris Johnson have faced no-platforming in recent years, while Germaine Greer eventually spoke at Cardiff University under tight security after the university's women's officer Rachael Melhuish, called for her to be no-platformed over transphobia.

It is likely that the no-platforming policy will once again pass, although opinion among Hallam students is mixed.

Final year history student Layne Robinson said: "I think it's a really really good thing! Stopping people with racist & fascist views from being able to disseminate those bigoted views is imperative in making society kinder, and I bet some people will think it's an infringement on "free speech" but I think there should absolutely never be the opportunity for more hate to be spread."

Second year historian, Dan McGrath, told us: "I think that initially it seems like it's a good idea, but by blocking these thoughts and not allowing for these issues to be discussed, it means people are denied a voice, only adding to the problem."

Final year Sheffield Hallam student, Lawrence Penn, added: "Freedom of speech has been the single most important method by which all the progressions such as equality of the sexes and gay marriage have come to exist today.

"So to curtail it, in a liberation focused Students’ Union of all places, just seems beyond ridiculous."

We have reached out to SHSU President Luke Renwick for comment on the policy, but have not received a reply.