Students plan protest for Tommy Robinson’s visit to York

The location of the talk is being kept secret due to security concerns

A change of host and meddling with Facebook events cast doubts over whether former EDL leader Tommy Robinson will actually grace our campus with his presence in January.

The Tab reported yesterday that the co-founder of the English Defence League would be coming to speak to students about “the police state, free speech and liberty in the UK.”

His planned talk will now be hosted by ‘York Talks’, a subsidiary organisation created by campus newspaper York Vision, instead of original hosts and print media rivals Nouse.

Tommy Robinson in 2011

Student groups who oppose the planned visit by Robinson to our campus mobilised on Tuesday morning to try and ‘buy up’ the tickets to “buy him out of a platform”, with a physical protest currently in the works.

The location of the talk is being kept secret due to security concerns, however organisers of the event told us that tickets, which went online at midday on Tuesday, sold out in under an hour.

YUSU have yet to make a statement concerning Robinson’s planned visit to campus, and whether ‘York Talks’ will constitute a YUSU-affiliated society is yet to be determined. If they are, it will be our Student Union who will have the final say on whether Tommy Robinson comes to The University of York.

An organiser told us definitively that there was a “100 per cent” likelihood that Tommy Robinson will be coming to our campus in January.

Robinson, who on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show in 2013 said, “Islam is not a religion of peace; it never has been and never will be,” was originally supposed to be coming as part of the ‘Nouse Chats’ series, hosted by the campus newspaper.

Nouse said on Monday: “The series aims to encourage debate and discussion on campus with a wide range of ideas and concepts, and to provide an opportunity for students to engage with the ideas, big or small, that shape and impact our world.”

By the end of the day, however, Nouse had decided that they would now no longer be hosting Robinson.

Mr Robinson tweeted yesterday evening: “If any York university students have a problem with me or believe I’m a fascist then come along & embarrass me with your debate not violence.”

This whole debacle seems like a very dull and entirely inconsequential episode of The Thick of It, but watch this space to keep up to date as it progresses.