Students at University College London will defy a motion which forces pro-life societies hosting discussions on abortion to invite a pro-choice speaker.
Students at University College London will defy a student union motion which forces student groups to invite pro-abortion advocates to pro-life talks.
Earlier this month the student union endorsed a motion which officially affiliated the union with Abortion Rights and said that societies, such as the Catholic Society, must invite pro-abortion speakers to future pro-life discussions.
However, Catholics, Jews and Sikhs will defy the motion arguing that it is illegal for the union to dictate who students should and should not invite to their discussions.
In a letter to the University’s Union’s Board of Trustees, co-signed by a cross-section of students, its authors state:
“The union has no right or power to dictate which speakers are invited by student organisations, or to impose conditions on the inviting of speakers with certain views on abortion. Any attempt to do so would contravene s43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 and the European Convention of Human Rights Articles 9, 10 and 11.
“The union has no right or authority to categorise speakers as “pro-life” or “pro-choice” or “anti-choice” as is required by the terms of the resolution. These are subjective terms and the speakers themselves may well disagree with the categorisation. Since the Union cannot categorise speakers it is therefore impossible for it to implement the resolution.”
They conclude that any attempt by the Union and the University to enforce the motion will undoubtedly result in a legal challenge.
The letter was copied to the Union chair and the university itself.
The students have so far received no response from the Union but the university has given assurances to students that it will not be involved with the motion at all and it will allow any society to invite pro-life speakers to events that they are hosting.