Society diversity

Rod Liddle and Julie Bindel to speak at Durham Union Society – Palatinate St Michael’s Day events

By Joe Rossiter

Columnist Rod Liddle is due to visit Durham University in November to speak at a Union event, Palatinate can reveal.

Controversial writer Julie Bindel, who canceled two Durham events, was also scheduled for a debate at the Durham Union Society.

Liddle’s scheduled November appearance will come less than a year after his speech at a South College Christmas service sparked controversy and protests.

Distancing the University from speaker appearances, a Durham spokesperson said: ‘The Durham Union Society is an independent, student-run debating society.

“We have a procedure in place to help both the Society and the University plan their events, but this was not followed in this case.

“This event will be announced in advance so that students can make an informed decision about their participation. We expect all student-led debates to be conducted in a balanced manner. »

Liddle is among the speakers in a debate titled ‘This house wouldn’t go to Durham University’.

Michaelmas’ tenure card from the Durham Union Society, which is due for release for the start of term next week, has been leaked to Palatinateand features Liddle as one of the speakers in a debate titled “This House Wouldn’t Go to Durham University”.

He is expected to be joined in moving the motion by GB News reporter and St Mary’s College alumnus Tom Harwood, while Sebastian Payne, another Durham graduate and Whitehall editor of the Financial Times, will team up with the MP of North West Durham, Richard Holden, to argue against the move. The debate is scheduled for Friday, November 11.

Friday’s debate two weeks later will feature Julie Bindel, with the motion defined as “This house regrets the rise of OnlyFans.”

No other speakers are listed for this duration map debate. Generally, if other participants are not found, student debaters fill in the remaining spaces.

The event comes after Durham became the center of national media conversation about the counseling sessions offered by the University to students involved in the sex industry.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Bindel said the sessions ‘legitimize a dangerous and exploitative trade for impressionable young minds’ and should not ‘get it into their heads that renting out their bodies to men is a career choice viable”.

In 2020, Bindel writes in The spectator that she was “de-platformed” at a similar Union Society event after they asked her to sign a college inclusion agreement, and said that the Union president would contact the “Trans Society” before the event.

In the article, Bindel sought to explain why she often faces canceled events: “I’m one of those crazy, fringe feminists who don’t think it’s possible for a woman to have a penis, or for a man to give birth to a baby”.

The Durham Union Society is independent of both the Durham Students’ Union and Durham University, although the University permits the Society’s use of its Pemberton building. However, the University does not subsidize the operation of the Union.

“We have a procedure in place to help both the Society and the University plan their events, but this was not followed in this case”

durham university spokesperson

In an after-dinner talk at South in December, Liddle told students, “A person with an X chromosome and a Y chromosome, who has a long, hanging penis, is scientifically a man, and that’s about , scientifically, the end of the story.”

He went on to say: “It is quite easy to prove that colonialism is not by far the main cause of Africa’s problems, just as it is very easy to prove that the poor educational performance of the native British Caribbean or African-Americans have nothing to do with institutional or structural racism.

Students in attendance staged a strike during Liddle’s speech, with the College’s head teacher, Tim Luckhurst, shouting “pathetic” and “at South College we value freedom of speech” as he left.

The incident led to a comprehensive review of the University’s guest speaker policies.

Prior to the summer, a transgender member of staff resigned in response to the University’s handling of Liddle’s appearance at South College.

A University spokesperson responded to the resignation by saying: “We are working to create an environment at Durham University that is respectful and where people feel comfortable being themselves and blossom; where equality, diversity and inclusivity are valued and difference is celebrated.

In response to Liddle and Bindel’s booking, a Durham University spokesperson added: ‘Durham University is committed to freedom of expression within the law and the safety of staff, students and visitors to the University. More information about our freedom of expression policy is available here.”

Pictures: CIH Housing and Kirsty through Flickr; Uli Harder via Wikimedia Commons