Students at City University in London have voted to overturn a Students’ Union motion banning right-wing tabloid newspapers from campus.
The move comes as new research shows that 20 UK universities have sought to ban newspapers and magazines from campus over the last three years.
The new vote follows the passing of a motion last November by the City University Students’ Union which said there was “no place for the Sun, Daily Mail or Express (In their current form) on City, University of London campuses or properties”.
The motion stated that the three titles had published stories which “demonise refugees and minorities”.
The motion to overturn the ban was proposed by journalism student Vincent Wood. Press Gazette understands that students from City’s large journalism department turned out in force to support the motion overturning the press ban.
Around 50 attended the meeting with all voting in favour of the motion overturning the ban, with the exception of two abstentions and one vote against.
The Students Union board of trustees will decide whether or not to overturn the original banning motion – as there are now two contradictory motions in force.
The row is largely a symbolic one because there are no newspaper outlets at City University.
New research from Spiked Online for its Free Speech University Rankings found that that there have been 129 bans at universities in the UK over the last three years, some 100 of which were engaged by students’ unions.
The bans breakdown as follows:
- Speakers: 21
- Newspapers: 20
- Adverts: 17
- Student societies: 16
- Fancy dress: 9.
Spiked reports that tt the end of last year, the students’ unions at City, Plymouth and Queen Mary banned the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Sun due to the papers’ coverage of immigration and Islam. Other publications banned at UK universities include: Daily Star, the Unilad website and Charlie Hebdo.
FSUR coordinator Tom Slater said: “Universities are systematically stifling free speech on campus, while students’ unions take all the flak. We’ve always maintained that campus censorship is about more than the so-called ‘snowflake generation’ throwing its weight around, and this year’s findings reflect that.
“Students’ unions have been pilloried for censoring ‘transphobic’ speech, and enforcing transgender pronouns. But our research shows that the vast majority of policies in this area stem from universities themselves.
“While students’ unions are significantly more censorious – and deserve all the criticism they get – universities often share and affirm their illiberal, patronising outlook.”