SU reverse decision to ban controversial ex-Muslim speaker from campus
They said it was an ‘egregious and highly regrettable error’
SU officials have been forced into an embarrassing u-turn after their decision to ban a controversial speaker from campus was met with national outrage.
Maryam Namazie, an outspoken ex-Muslim activist and campaigner, had been asked by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society to give a talk.
However, the society claimed their application for Namazie to speak on campus was denied, publishing emails sent by an SU member which said: “We are going to have to decline authorisation for her presence on campus…She is highly inflammatory and could incite hatred on campus.”
Despite these emails, the SU insisted publicly they were still to make a final decision.
This explanation did nothing to stop the SU coming under intense pressure from Warwick students as well as such public figures as Ben Goldacre and Professor Brian Cox. Both of the prominent scientists had pledged to boycott giving talks at Warwick in the future.
The union has since claimed the proper process for assessing external speakers wasn’t followed.
In a statement, they said: “Speaker invitations that may involve such issues are routinely considered by the SU President, who will also take advice from senior SU staff. This did not happen on this occasion.
“Neither the SU President, nor senior SU staff, were consulted as they should have been. This is a significant error for which there can be no excuse.”
To rectify the damage from their miscommunication, the SU have issued an unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie and have promised to identify how the error happened and put it right.
“We apologise to everyone who has expressed concern, or disappointment, or who has been hurt by this significant error. We want to assure everyone of Warwick Students’ Union’s continued commitment to free speech.”
Namazie had earlier written with anger about being banned from campus, saying: “Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do. I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.
“These sort of Lefties have one set of progressive politics for themselves – they want gay rights, equality for women and the right to criticise the pope and the Christian-Right, and another for us.”