The UCL Union has a statement on its attempt to meddle with the UCLU Atheist, Secularist & Humanist Society’s Facebook page.
UCLU (the representative body of UCL students) has a duty to foster and encourage freedom of expression among our members, ensure diversity of our membership is recognised[,] and pursue equal opportunities for our members.
Following a number of complaints from UCL students, UCLU requested that the UCLU Atheist, Secularist & Humanist Society (UCLU ASH) take down a cartoon from a Facebook event page advertising one of the society’s regular social events.
The society was asked to remove the image because UCLU aims to foster good relations between different groups of students and create a safe environment where all students can benefit from societies regardless of their religious or other beliefs. UCLU has a duty to ensure students are not harassed because of a characteristic which may make them appear different to others, including but not limited to race, gender, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.
Society Presidents take responsibility for their own publicity, and it is not vetted by UCLU prior to distribution. They are provided with equality training prior to running a society, to help them understand the balance between freedom of expression and cultural sensitivity.
The event in question has now passed and the society has agreed that they will take more consideration when drawing up publicity for future events.
That’s a horrible document. Nobody was being harassed because of the existence of that cartoon on that page. If harassment is defined that broadly then nobody can say anything.
The sentence about “equality training” that helps society presidents “understand the balance between freedom of expression and cultural sensitivity” makes me want to lose my lunch.
The smug satisfaction of “they will take more consideration” makes me want to shout at least three rude words.