New freedom of speech motion passes at SU student meeting

A new motion on free speech which called for ‘a difference of views towards Union or University policy and actions’ to not ‘bring the Union into disrepute’ has been passed by students at an All Student Members meeting (ASM) last night.

Lincoln Students' Union (SU)The proposal, put forward by student Bradley Allsop, comes after the Conservative Society ‘brought the union into disrepute’ earlier this year for criticising the its free speech record.

In response, the SU went on to suspend the society’s social media, before access was reinstated later.

The decision was met with criticism by members of the student body, who later organised a protest against the Students’ Union. A petition calling for an emergency ASM received over 70 signatures on the day, with the meeting taking place 10 days later.

The ASM saw three motions passed, which were on freedom of speech, the SU’s Disciplinary Procedure and the National Student Survey.

The initial proposal on freedom of speech, submitted by former student Josh Grinsell, called the decision against the Conservative Society a ‘misguided and an unacceptable breach of freedom of expression’.

Despite being passed by students, the motion was rejected by the union’s Board of Trustees.

In an email, SU President Kudzai Muzangaza said: “After seeking legal advice on the matter, the Board [of Trustees] acknowledged that there are set circumstances in which restrictions on free expression can be enforced, namely with the purpose of ‘protecting the rights of others’.”

The new motion, which passed unanimously, will now be handed over to the union’s Board of Trustees for their approval.

In response to the news, Hannah Barr, who organised the protest in March, said: “‘I am so pleased that the freedom of speech bill has passed but I will stand with baited breath whether the sentiments within the motion will be constructively applied.

“A special mention to Bradley Allsop for constructing the motion onto paper and thanks to all those who voted with us in favour of this bill.’

The University of Lincoln’s Conservative Society has been contacted for comment.

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