Universities should be open to competing beliefs

Rory Fenton, president of the National Federation of Student Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Societies (in the UK), made a statement on the way officers of the LSE Student Union bullied the LSE ASH group on Thursday and Friday.

For the second day in a row our affiliated society, the LSE Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, have faced intimidation and threats from its students union and university for their refusal to remove t-shirts featuring the cartoon Jesus and Mo. Their statement on today’s events can be read below. For their statement on yesterday’s event please click here.

The LSESU’s statement, which omits any reference to the use of security guards, can be read here.

The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies strongly condemns the actions of the LSESU. President Rory Fenton said, “Our member societies deserve and rightly demand the same freedom of speech and expression afforded to their religious counterparts on campus. Universities should be open to and tolerant of different beliefs, without exception. That a students’ union would use security guards to follow and intimidate their own members is deeply concerning and displays an inconsistent approach to free speech; if it is for some, it must be for all. The AHS will work with our partners at the British Humanist Association and National Secular Society to assist our affiliated society and seek engagement with both the LSESU and LSE itself. It is the duty of universities countrywide to respect their students’ rights, not their sensitivities.”

Rory can be contacted at president@ahsstudents.org.uk and 07403141133.


  1. Al Dente says

    Our member societies deserve and rightly demand the same freedom of speech and expression afforded to their religious counterparts on campus.

    Silly atheists, don’t you realize you’ve forfeited your god-given right to freedom of speech by being atheists? Just ask the Student Union officials at Reading University and LSE.

  2. rnilsson says

    All this hullabaloo around LSE makes me curious: Is there any particular major sponsor lurking in the background, perhaps some entity in possession of Large Sums of Equity, which might explain the rather striking lopsidedness of those incidents? A few likely candidates do spring to mind …

    Haven’t done much reading on Reading yet.

  3. thephilosophicalprimate says

    Having some experience with student governments, seeing a group of students given a tiny bit of power to govern other students turning into raging authoritarian control freaks does not surprise me in the slightest. It is especially unsurprising because the London School of Economics is a business school, and business schools tend to disproportionately attract students with conservative/neoliberal leanings, which go hand in hand with authoritarianism. (To ward of predictable misunderstandings, this is clearly a statistical rather than universal claim.)

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