The LSE Students’ Union has put out a statement on its quarrel with the LSE Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society. It’s a horrible little document.
On Monday 16th January it was brought to our attention via an official complaint by two students that the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society posted cartoons, published by the UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, depicting the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus “sitting in a pub having a pint” on their society Facebook page. Upon hearing this, the sabbaticals officers of the LSESU ensured all evidence was collected and an emergency meeting with a member of the Students’ Union staff was called to discuss how to deal with the issue. During this time, we received over 40 separate official complaints from the student body, in addition to further information regarding more posts on the society Facebook page.
Why? Why did they bother to collect “evidence”? (Meaning they looked at the Facebook page and nodded solemnly - yep, there it is – ?) Why on earth was an emergency meeting called (and who called it?)? An emergency? Because of a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed having a beer? Why did they call an emergency meeting to discuss how to deal with the issue? What issue? Why did they think there was an issue? Why did they think it needed dealing with? Why on earth did they think it was up to them to “deal with it”? Who do they think they are? The Stasi? The Inquisition? The Taliban? What makes them think it’s any of their business that somebody has a harmless image on a Facebook page? Not images of women being raped and torn in half, mind, but of two guys having a beer. Who cares that they got “over 40″ complaints? No doubt there was a little knot of people running around in a frenzy of joy because somebody was listening to their pathetic bedwetting “complaints” but so what?
It was decided that the President and other committee members of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society would be called for an informal meeting to explain the situation, the complaints that had been made, and how the action of posting these cartoons was in breach of Students’ Union policy on inclusion and the society’s constitution. This meeting took place on Friday 20th January at 10.30am. The society agreed to certain actions coming out of the meeting and these were discussed amongst the sabbatical team. In this discussion it was felt that though these actions were positive they would not fully address the concerns of those who had submitted complaints. Therefore the SU will now be telling the society that they cannot continue these activities under the brand of the SU.
Oh doesn’t that sound like a festive occasion. The ASH members called in to be told that a harmless cartoon is in breach of Students’ Union policy on inclusion. The members bullied into agreeing “to certain actions.” The bullies, sexually aroused by all this power to tell people off, deciding it’s Not Good Enough and they’ll just jolly well demand more; so, now they will actually get to tell the society that they cannot. Ooh ooh ooh ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That’s those members told. How was it for you?
The LSE Students’ Union would like to reiterate that we strongly condemn and stand against any form of racism and discrimination on campus. The offensive nature of the content on the Facebook page is not in accordance with our values of tolerance, diversity, and respect for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religious affiliation. There is a special need in a Students’ Union to balance freedom of speech and to ensure access to all aspects of the LSESU for all the ethnic and religious minority communities that make up the student body at the LSE.
Yes we get it you self-important puffed-up little shits: you’re good and they’re bad; you’re against racism and they’re totally racists; the content is offensive and you’re good; you’re for tolerance, diversity, and respect and they’re for offensiveness. We get it. You think free speech needs to be “balanced” with self-admiring “concern” for self-aggrandizing complainers about worked-up “offendedness” about a cartoon that’s about as “offensive” as an Eccles cake.
Update: I forgot to say: h/t Alex Gabriel.