Censorship, Student Unions and “Cultural Appropriation”
Below we post a communication from the Kent University UKIP students which speaks for itself. For background, please read the links provided in the text, especially the one to the article by our colleagues at Kipper Central. The alert from the Kent UKIP students was sent out before the Bank Holiday weekend. That publication elicited a quick response by the Kent Students Union – but read the whole text for yourselves:
“Kent Union (the Students Union at the University of Kent) are threatening to shut down the University’s UKIP Society and discipline committee members for refusing to restrict freedom of speech and ‘hide and censor’ their Facebook page.
Kent Union initially contacted the society to insist they ‘hide and censor’ comments made on their Facebook page to avoid offending someone. The society did not wish to censor and restrict freedom of speech.
Following the publication of the following article in Kipper Central, Kent Union representatives contacted the UKIP society again and threatened to shut down the society if the supposed ‘offensive’ comments are not deleted. They have also threatened the committee with a Student Disciplinary Procedure despite the fact that the society has not broken any of the rules listed in this policy. This could have an incredibly detrimental impact on the committee, with the potential consequences including suspension from all Kent Union activity and a University Record.
The full Student Disciplinary Procedure sent to the society by Kent Union can be found here.
Kent Union have only days ago faced a national controversy for encouraging a student boycott of a nightclub Tokyo Tea Rooms for ‘cultural appropriation’, see the following reports in the BBC, the Daily Mail, Kent Online and The Sun.
Both statements from the UKIP society can be found here. These are the texts:
PRESS RELEASE: 23/08/2018
Kent Union have strongly suggested that we actively hide and censor comments on our Facebook posts in case they offend someone.
In the same email accusations were made that our Facebook followers have been encouraging violence, an accusation that we strongly deny based on the total lack of evidence provided to substantiate such a claim.
This has happened not long after we became the political society with the largest social media influence on campus.
We thank Kent Union for their suggestion but we do not believe in censorship.
PRESS RELEASE: 26/08/2018
Kent Union has demanded that we “immediately” censor comments on our Facebook page AND remove any posts they don’t like or face a disciplinary process – most likely the shutting down of our society, something they have threatened us with before.
After we had prompted them to send us evidence of the comments “so clearly encouraging violence” left on one of our posts they supplied us with a comment from someone unaffiliated to our society that, while sensationalist and arguably distasteful, had clearly been taken out of context to a certain extent. Moreover, there has not been – nor will there be – any endorsement or other indication that this comment is representative of any views held by the society.
We have reviewed the Kent Union Student Disciplinary Procedure sent to us by a second Union representative and we found that we are not in violation of any of their terms and regulations as the offending comment was not made by a member or even associate of our society. We believe that the best way to challenge ideas is to engage with them and not just shut them down.
We have asked Kent Union for further clarification.
Censorship is Tolerance, Debate is Oppression, Silence is Inclusive.
I believe this is something that should be publicised to ensure the student’s union does not restrict freedom of speech among students. I would not like my name associated due to future repercussions from Kent Union. However, it is likely the president of the society will be willing to make a further statement and is contactable via the University of Kent UKIP Society Facebook page.”
So – is this perhaps just a storm in a Tokyo-Tea-Room teacup? Is this just about Student Unionists playing politics? Indeed it is not and indeed it is serious and deeply worrying. It is not even just about ‘Cultural Appropriation’, the new battle cry of certain lefty student snowflakes.
The MSM reports show how the local Labour MP have made this into a party political issue, thus threatening the livelihood of a small business. One might shrug and leave it at that: it’s ‘normal Britain’, after all. The truly important point however is that the Kent Union is demanding that the UKIP students remove ‘offensive’ comments form their facebook page. Apparently, their response (see the first Press release) is now also deemed to be ‘offensive’, and even more so the fact that they dared to contact us (UKIP Daily and Kipper Central) to publicise this blatant attempt at censorship.
This, it seems is the new modus operandi: demand, with threats, to censor a facebook page and threaten to shut down a student society when they are not compliant immediately and, worse, go public.
This is the time of year when Freshers come into universities, the time of year when student societies are setting out their stalls. Shutting down one such society means they’ll be effectively silenced and prevented from organising. That’s OK, isn’t it, because it’s UKIP …
I hope our Party leaders pick this up and go to town on it – what’s sauce for the Labour goose surely is sauce for the UKIP gander!
I also hope that our social media warriors, Sargon of Akkad, Paul Joseph Watson and Count Dankula take this up. This is not about one UKIP student group in a small university, it is not a small storm in a small teacup — this is the real-life effect of censorship.
If standing for Freedom of Speech means anything then it must mean publishing and standing with these UKIP students against their lefty student union officials. Moreover – this can and will happen elsewhere. This snowflake madness is virulent, just read this latest report! Can a UKIP student group now expect to be censored when they point out this idiocy on their Facebook page?
So I repeat the plea of the Kent University UKIP Student official: publicise this, link to it! If you have kids entering university next month; make them aware of how their freedom is threatened.
After all – where will it end? Prohibiting a production of The Mikado because it’s “Cultural Appropriation”?