Free speech motion rejected by Lincoln SU

A student motion on freedom of speech, put forward after the temporary suspension of the Conservative Society’s social media accounts earlier this year, has been rejected by the University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union.

Lincoln Students' Union (SU)

The motion was passed during an emergency meeting in March, following a petition signed by more than 70 students.

In a statement on their website, the SU said they are ‘keen to ensure’ the right to freedom of expression is upheld, but added that it is an unqualified right.

“Student engagement with the Union is welcomed,” they went on to add. “In order though to promote the interests and welfare of students (one of the objects of the Union charity), the Union needs the ability to regulate use of social media and other platforms at the University in order to protect the wider student body from discrimination and abuse.

“Freedom of speech’ does not override this duty on the Trustees,” they said.

The SU also mentioned that the comments made under ‘The Union Believes…’ section of the motion – including that the ruling on the Conservative Society was ‘a misguided and an unacceptable breach of freedom of expression’ – does not represent the views of its trustees.

However, the Students’ Union added that the trustees believe that the situation with the Conservative Society ‘could have been dealt with better’ and that ‘training has been given and procedures taken’ so that similar situations are handled better in the future.

The decision to reject the freedom of speech motion was made during a meeting of the Board of Trustees last month, where the board also decided to reject the Student Disciplinary motion and said that the External Speakers Policy is to remain in place.

Despite this, the Students’ Union have announced that their trustees will review the organisation’s disciplinary procedures, as well as its External Speakers Policy.

The SU’s Chief Executive, James Brooks, will review and propose changes to the Student Disciplinary Policy at the start of the new academic year in September.

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