Pro-life students at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University are asking officials to intervene after being told they cannot receive funding because of their views.
The students lobbied the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) to change its policy against funding pro-life campaigning.
They argued that their right to free speech is being stifled, but their request was voted down.
Laura Seggie, a member of the pro-life group, called for USSA to review its decision saying her group has been denied a “basic human right”.
She noted that under union policy, “pro-life groups are denied rights of recognition and prevented from enjoying the privileges of a club or society.
“Given the firmly negative response to our application and the forceful manner in which the existing policy was explained to us, effectively banning pro-life groups, any change in the current position seems unlikely”, she added.
The Catholic Society has written to Strathclyde University officials, asking them to intervene.
The essence of free speech and open debate is at issue here.John Deighan
The move by USSA was slammed by John Deighan, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children Scotland.
He said: “It is quite remarkable and incredibly sad that in this day and age our universities, which are supposed to be the bastions of free thinking and liberal mindedness, should be transformed into centres for intolerant censorship.
“Universities should be guardians of debate and challenging ideas, rather than banning people just because they don’t like their views. The essence of free speech and open debate is at issue here.”
Open to all
President of USSA, Gary Paterson, said the union’s equality policy means it supports a “woman’s right to choose”.
In a list of values on its website, USSA claims that it represents the “diverse make-up and needs of the Student population”.
Ironically, it also states that the union is “Open to All”.
Strathclyde University has been rated ‘Amber’ in the Spiked Online Free Speech University Rankings.
The list states: “The University of Strathclyde and the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) collectively create an environment that chills free speech.”
Dundee University Students’ Union (DUSA) was blasted in 2014 after it banned pro-life group SPUC from attending the university’s freshers’ fayre.
It fared even worse in the Spiked rankings, which state that it creates a “hostile environment for free speech”.