Pro-life student groups gagged by Scottish universities

An investigation by two pro-life campaign organisations has shamed a number of Scottish universities for censoring pro-life student groups.

Research conducted by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) highlighted particular discrimination against pro-life groups at the universities of Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The free speech policies of 16 universities were assessed in the light of the Equality Act 2010, where philosophical beliefs – including the sanctity of life – are protected characteristics.


SPUC and APS awarded marks to each Scottish university it investigated based on their “approach to pro-life speakers and societies”.

Commenting on the findings, SPUC said: “The University of Edinburgh and Stirling University secured fail marks on the basis that the students’ unions refused to affiliate pro-life societies.”

It also described “the struggles and discrimination” pro-life student groups had encountered at the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, “where students had to pursue legal action before being affiliated as a society”.

The only university to receive a ‘first-class’ mark was the University of St Andrews.

‘Censorship epidemic’

Following the publication of the document, called Free2Speak, SPUC and APS sent a joint letter to MSPs calling on the Scottish Parliament to “address the censorship epidemic our universities are facing”.

Madeline Page, CEO of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students said: “This report evidences what we have known to be true for years – that pro-life students struggle to have their voices heard on university campuses.”

She added: “Pro-life students and groups deserve to be treated like any other society on a university campus – free from undue burden and discrimination.”

Also see:


Universities launch free speech societies

Education Secretary threatens universities over free speech censorship

Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘Free speech is fundamental to society’

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