Society diversity

LGBTQ officers issue statement against Free Speech Society event

YUSU LGBTQ part-time officers issued a statement against an event organized by the Free Speech Society.

The Free Speech Society welcomes William Clouston, leader of the Social Democratic Party, on October 27 for an event entitled “Why it’s all wrong and how to fix it” where he will deliver a speech followed by a question and answer session. The event was promoted as one “where attendees can ask questions about the problems facing Britain and the potential solutions that exist”.

LGBTQ network encourages students to boycott event in statement that can be read here.

Additionally, the LGBTQ Network worked with the university to facilitate a protest space during the event. They also assured the students that the speaker and participants will be asked to agree not to post or view people’s private information without their permission and permission.

The LGBTQ network also said it was open to people who contacted them with concerns or questions about the event.

Hannah Nimmo, YUSU’s Community and Wellness Manager, supported LGBTQ leaders in their statement by posting it to her Instagram story, saying she will always support YUSU’s PTOs.

Talk to no use, YUSU Business Manager Rohan Ashar said:

“As I have said in statements in response to the controversy surrounding the invitation of Desmond Swayne by a group of students, YUSU and the university are bound by law and free speech legislation, which means that we have to facilitate these kinds of events regardless of the opinions previously expressed by a speaker. The YUSU LGBTQ+ Network was well within its rights to criticize the choice of the guest of the Free Speech Society and to advising people to boycott the conference – it’s really important that students voice their concerns and advocate for underrepresented voices in these scenarios (and beyond).

“I personally believe that student groups should avoid hosting controversial speakers in our community, as it goes against the inclusive environment that most of us strive to create at this university. .

“I can report that the actual event went well (accompanied by a peaceful protest) and the speakers focused on economics rather than race, gender or other protected characteristics.”

In response to this article, the Free Speech Society said:

“The claims that William Clouston and the SDP are both racist and transphobic have no validity since the accusers have not dared to give examples. William himself has no idea what they are talking about. William’s speech will focus on “Why it’s all wrong and how to fix it”, which will address the economic challenges facing this country, and in particular young people.

“We welcome protests, the diversity of opinion on campus is something we greatly value. We ask that this time protesters learn the bare minimum about how the event actually unfolded and what society really stands for rather than making baseless slander about us.

“The university has set up a protest zone where protesters are asked to shield themselves from moderated discussion in case they hear something they disagree with. If they don’t want to take the opportunity to attend a free event and challenge views they find so distasteful, that’s up to them. Security is available to anyone participating in either capacity. As a society we exist independently of the protesters and therefore owe them nothing, our concern is with those who are genuinely willing to attend.

No Use contacted York University and William Clouston for comment.