Brunel students stage mass walk out on Katie Hopkins

Dozens of students staged a “walk out” on Katie Hopkins as the controversial columnist was speaking in a lecture theatre at Brunel University London.

Hopkins was speaking at the university on Monday 24 November in a panel debating ‘Does the welfare state have a place in 2015’ as part of Brunel’s 50th anniversary.

Students stood up and turned their back on the former Apprentice candidate the moment she began speaking. When the students were invited to return to their seats by the host, they instead started filing out of the lecture theatre, past a bemused Hopkins.

President of Brunel’s students’ union, Ali Milani, praised the walk out in a blog, saying: “I stand in full solidarity with those that chose to partake in the action, respectfully voicing their discontent. They have made me proud to be their representative.”

He wrote: “In the current social media climate, where everyone is provided an online platform to speak, do we need to have a serious conversation, as a student movement and a society, on how we deal with online trolls?

“These are people who make their living by deliberately saying belligerent and offensive statements. Katie Hopkins is the physical manifestation of these trolls and we should not be providing the oxygen to her fire.

“So we have to ask ourselves: Is inviting someone who has no intellectual or political credibility providing any valuable intellectual nuance to debates in our society? At a time when we must be discussing how we do more for disabled people, is this a valuable addition to debate?

“In an age where thousands of refugees are dying in the Mediterranean Sea, attempting to escape persecution, is this a valuable addition to the debate? The answers are simple and clear; and were answered by our students last night.”


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