The decision to ban a pro-life group from the freshers’ fayre at Dundee University earlier this month has been criticised by sociologist Dr Tiffany Jenkins.
Writing in The Scotsman, she said that such actions mean “denying youngsters the chance to formulate their own views”.
The sociologist defended the right of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), to share its views with students.
The society was told it could not hold a stall at Dundee University freshers’ fayre, although it had done so for many years.
Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA), voted to refuse SPUC access because “highly offensive” foetal models and literature were displayed at a previous stall.
Clare McGraw, secretary for SPUC in Dundee, described the decision by DUSA as “sad and disappointing”.
Jenkins criticised the actions of student bodies in “cocooning young people” from “challenging opinions” that “those in charge have simply taken a dislike to”.
Describing the pro-life opinion of SPUC, she said: “it’s a legitimate point of view, if one that I do not hold”.
The sociologist defended SPUC’s right to hold its position even in the face of opposing views and expressed disbelief at the unanimous decision by DUSA to deny SPUC access based on the content of its literature and materials.
She highlighted the content of SPUC’s literature, including the argument that abortion “denies a child’s right to life” and evidence that mothers will “likely suffer from post-abortion-trauma”.
This material is meant to “put people off having abortions, but that is the point of the organisation – it is ‘pro-life'” she added.
Jenkins explained that when universities block out the views of people they disagree with, they actually patronise students.
She said that “trying to silence the views of people you disagree with” says a “great deal about how young adults are seen.”
Jenkins added: “They should be trusted to listen to others and think for themselves; instead they are treated like impressionable children.”
Earlier in the year, the University of Alabama apologised for removing a student group’s pro-life display without talking to them first.
The Christian Institute has begun a new series called ‘Choose Life’, focusing on abortion.
Over the next few weeks people will be sharing moving and deeply personal stories of how abortion affected them.