Students write open letter to York VC regarding Hong Kong protest banner
YUSU’s official response included
Students at the University of York have signed an open letter to the Vice-Chancellor condemning YUSU's removal of a Hong Kong protest banner at this years Students' Union's freshers' fair.
Over 80 current and former students have signed the open letter to Professor Charlie Jeffery stating that they are "appalled" at the recent newspaper reports that Doorsafe and the Students’ Union removed posters highlighting the human rights issues in Hong Kong on Saturday 5th October at the uni's freshers' fair.
The open letter, penned by former History student Elliott Banks, criticises Doorsafe's removal of the protest posters that were written in Cantonese and Mandarin claiming it was a breach of section 43 of the Education Act 1986 that upholds freedom of speech on campus.
The original story by me in Saturday's Times (£ – free if you register): https://t.co/OfpfyDlz4O
— Henry Dyer (@Direthoughts) October 28, 2019
Banks states that the posters were a "clear demonstration of freedom of speech" and finds it "disheartening to see those who were concerned about this issue silenced in such manner".
He argued that the removal of the posters by the Students' Union contradicts the tradition of "free thought and expression" that universities are meant to encourage. Before closing the letter urging the University to issue an apology to York's Hong Kong students and to ensure it does not happen again.
YUSU have officially released a statement in response to the media reports regarding the removal of the protest display from the freshers' fair. They state they are in "the process of speaking to all parties concerned to establish the full facts and circumstances of the matter" and claims that, to date, they have received no complaints relating to the issue from students involved.
A number of media outlets have reported that Hong Kong students were told to remove a protest display from the University of York Students' Union's Freshers' Fair on Saturday 5th October.
For our full statement on this, please see our website > https://t.co/v3STw43603
— YUSU (@yorkunisu) October 28, 2019
YUSU state that freshers' fair exists to showcase the diverse range of opportunities available for students at York, "including a diverse range of ratified political groups, who create a respectful, inclusive and safe environment working with the Union supporting their commitment to promoting freedom of speech."
Featured image via: Ben David Godson