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Warwick SU defends the removal of PPL Soc’s Facebook poll asking whether or not gender is binary

They said ‘some issues are simply not up for debate’


Warwick Students' Union have made a public statement calling the actions of Warwick PPL Society "offensive and highly inappropriate" after the society created a Facebook poll questioning whether or not gender is binary.

Warwick Politics, Philosophy and Law Society faced significant backlash after they created a public Facebook poll, asking followers: "Is gender binary, or is it a spectrum?"

Warwick PPL Society have posted several controversial polls in the past, asking their followers whether Israel is a legitimate state, or whether animal testing is justified.

*** SU STATEMENT ON TRANS RIGHTS ***We were recently made aware of a poll hosted on a student-run Facebook page at…

Posted by Warwick SU on Friday, December 14, 2018

The poll questioning the spectrum of gender was the sixth in their series titled: "To be or not to be?"

The poll showed more votes in favour of gender being binary, and was removed from Warwick PPL Society's page following pressure from students and a complaint made by Warwick Labour to the Students' Union.

In response, Warwick SU have made an official statement defending the removal of the poll, calling the actions of PPL Society "offensive and highly inappropriate."

They said: "Some issues are simply not up for debate, including the identity, existence and lives of our Trans students."

The statement, signed off by the Student Officer Team in Warwick SU, sparked a debate in the comments over free speech at university.

One student commented: "[It is] ironic how the supposed representative for students at a university, a place where freedom of speech and debates on all subject matter is encouraged, is restraining those very principles."

Another said: "I don’t care about your feelings getting hurt, I care about my freedom of speech which clearly got taken away from me. Disgraceful and disappointing."

Other students have seen the move by the Students' Union to be beneficial in showing their explicit support for Trans people and their allies.

One commented that the poll effectively questions "whether non-binary people even exist" and that polls of its kind "serve only to give a platform to bigotry."

The PPL society would like to apologise for posting the previous poll. Our intent was to allow people to engage…

Posted by Warwick PPL Society on Friday, December 7, 2018

This comes after Warwick Students' Union was ranked "Red" in Spiked's Free Speech University Rankings for three consecutive years, indicating that they create a invasive and "hostile environment for free speech."

The Co-President of Warwick PPL Society told The Warwick Tab: "By publishing the poll we sought to facilitate rigorous academic discussion, and facilitate open, honest, and respectful discussion and debate in the comments below.

"Free speech is something the PPL Society strongly believes in, and so the SU’s post has left us, among many others, disappointed."

The President of Warwick SU has been contacted for a statement.