LIVE BLOG: Free speech to be debated at emergency ASM

Hello and welcome to The Linc’s live coverage of tonight’s All Student Members Meeting (ASM), which includes motions on free speech, boycotting the National Student Survey, and the SU’s Disciplinary Procedure. 

Photo: Lincoln SU.

This emergency ASM comes after a protest on freedom of speech took place outside the Students’ Union on Friday, March 10. Over 70 students signed a petition calling for the meeting to occur – surpassing the 50 signature minimum.

It also follows the SU’s controversial decision to temporarily suspend the Conservative Society’s social media accounts after they criticised the SU’s ‘red’ rating for freedom of speech in Spiked’s university rankings. The move saw the Students’ Union gain local and national media coverage.

The ban has since been revoked following an appeal.

The ASM takes place this evening, from 6pm, in the Minerva Building (MB1009). The agenda for the meeting can be found on the Lincoln Students’ Union’s website.

Come back closer to the time for live updates and coverage from the team.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:09

Hello and welcome to The Linc’s live coverage of tonight’s ASM. After attendees have had their student cards scanned, everyone is beginning to settle down ready for tonight’s proceedings to begin.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:11

The Linc have been prohibited from filming tonight’s ASM because filming in meetings “is a grey area as it’s never happened before”.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:12

There’s a big increase in turnout compared to the last ASM. On the Facebook page for the event, over 100 have said they are going to tonight’s meeting.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:17

There are three motions to be discussed tonight: one on boycotting the National Student Survey, another on Free Speech and the final motion is on the SU’s Disciplinary Procedure.

The NSS motion has been brought forward by Bradley Allsop, and says “that by aiding the promotion of NSS in any way, we are in conflict with our clear stance against tuition fees”.

The meeting is now underway and Bradley is introducing this motion.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:20

Postgraduate Officer Bradley Allsop finishes his speech to the ASM about his NSS motion, saying “we are here to stand up for students. We are here to protect students’ interests.”

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:22

Disabled Officer Joshua Grinsell has asked Bradley a question about his motion, during which the turnout for tonight’s ASM has been confirmed as 89 students.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:33

The second motion to be discussed tonight is free speech, proposed by Joshua Grinsell.

In the document explaining the motion, it says that “the decision to suspend the Conservative Society’s social media accounts was misguided and an unacceptable breach of freedom of expression, and that the lifting of the suspension is positive.”

It goes on to add that the SU’s External Speakers Policy has ‘stifled’ sports and societies, and that ‘a review of policy on free speech must take place immediately.’

The motion calls upon the SU to apologise to the Conservative Society, and immediately review the External Speakers Policy.

It also states that the Disciplinary Panel should not ban societies and sports teams from using social media ‘unless and until this is included in their powers under the Disciplinary Procedures’.

Also, it says ‘dissent towards Union or University policy either written or verbal should not alone constitute “bringing the Union into disrepute” if it is free from racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist or transphobic abuse.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:35

Student Thomas Dyer has spoken against the NSS boycott motion, saying it is “just silly” and “wasting our time”. He calls for attendees to “get on with it.”

The motion has now gone to a secret ballot.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:35

The ASM has now moved on to the free speech motion, and Josh Grinsell is now speaking.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:46

Calum Watt comments on the motion, saying political debate has been ‘stifled’ on campus. He says students have the right to free speech and political debate on campus.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:50

Postgraduate Officer Bradley Allsop adds to the debate, saying “having a disagreement with something the SU has done is not bringing the SU into disrepute”.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:52

Josh Grinsell’s motion on free speech has passed, along with Bradley Allsop’s motion on boycotting the NSS.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:53

Calum Watt is talking about tonight’s final motion now, which is about the SU’s Disciplinary Panel.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201718:58

During the passing of tonight’s motion on freedom of speech, a student shouts “where’s the apology?”

Chair Scott Bonner warns them that they would be kicked out of the meeting if another outburst is made tonight.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201719:03

There are no speeches against the Disciplinary Panel motion or any for abstention, so it passes by ascension.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201719:09

Bradley Allsop comments on tonight’s turnout, saying “there’s appetite there”, whilst Chair Scott Bonner says it’s ‘great’ to see so many students at tonight’s ASM.

Liam O'Dell Monday, March 20, 201719:11

After discussing ‘any other business’, tonight’s meeting has come to a close.

Thanks for following tonight’s live coverage. Be sure to keep an eye on our website, Facebook (/TheLinc) and Twitter (@TheLinc) for the latest news and sport from in and around Lincoln.

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