London Student

Goldsmiths’ Islamic and Atheist societies may face disciplinary action over Maryam Namazie lecture

Goldsmiths students’ union may take action against the Islamic (Isoc) and Atheist, Secularist and Humanist (ASH) societies over the row that erupted during Maryam Namazie’s lecture last month.

The students’ union said in a statement it had “concluded [its] investigation into the events that took place at the ASH event on 20 November,” and elaborated over four action points.

Maryam Namazie was invited to speak in November on behalf of Goldsmiths’ ASH society on ‘Apostasy, Blasphemy and free expression in the age of Isis’, but the lecture was disrupted, with allegations of intimidation and at least one death threat being made.

The statement continued: “We will arrange meetings with the Islamic and Atheist, Secularist and Humanist societies individually and identify actions that will be taken by each society. This may be followed by disciplinary action against individual society members and/or a society.”

As part of its response, the students’ union has also committed to “review [its] external speaker procedure and safe space policy in line with best practice from other institutions” and to arrange a meeting with all societies to brief them on this review.

The statement added: “No society will be able to proceed with an external speaker even unless this briefing has been attended.”

Finally, the students’ union will organise a compulsory annual training session for clubs and societies who wish to invite external speakers in the beginning of each year.

Also read: ‘Death Threats And Intimidation’ At Controversial Goldsmiths Lecture With Speaker Maryam Namazie

Responding to the statement, the president of Goldsmiths’ ASH society told London Student: “From the information that the SU has reluctantly given to me it is very unlikely that we will be disciplined.”

He added: “The video [of the lecture] illustrates no wrongdoing on our behalf,” and described the students’ union’s response as “somewhat confusing”.

Goldsmiths students’ union announced it was investigating the lecture shortly after the ASH society said it would make a complaint against the Islamic society. The union also asked Namazie to remove a recording of her lecture while the investigation was being conducted, but the speaker refused.

Also read: Calls For The NUS To Reform Safe Space Policy Following Maryam Namazie Disruption

The Islamic society, in the immediate aftermath, also accused members of the Atheist society and security staff of “unnecessary bullying and violence” during the talk, adding in a statement: “The university should be a safe space for all our students. Islamophobic views like those propagated by Namazie create a climate of hatred and bigotry towards Muslim students.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) and other students’ unions employ a “safe space” policy to ensure an accessible environment in which every student feels comfortable, safe, and free from intimidation and judgement. This policy extends to all events hosted by the union.

Goldsmiths students’ union’s own safe space policy document reads: “Goldsmiths Students’ Union (GSU) recognises that systematic oppression excludes certain groups whilst providing others with unequal power.

“The safe space policy is designed to protect oppressed groups and enable their full participation in the student union. GSU is committed to operating as a space which is inclusive and supportive in which no forms of discrimination are tolerated.”

However critics, including Goldsmiths’ ASH society, have labelled the policy as “free-speech suppressing”. A petition calling for the National (NUS) to reform its safe space policies gained almost 2,500 signatures within a week.

London Student attempted to contact both the Islamic society and the students’ union for a comment but neither responded at the time of writing.

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Jonis Liban

4 comments

  • Isn’t it standard practice among Muslim apologists, when they engage in bullying and violence, to cloud the issue by claiming that people arguing against Islam are violent, bullying Islamophobes?

  • I am white and a man so I have to presume that my voice is oppressive to any safe space for any student organisation, but I must say what a bunch of cowardly scumbags the student union have been over this. Watch the video, nothing Islamaphobic was said. Miriam Namazie is entitled to express views about a religion. That’s not bullying thats discourse something that used to happen in Universities before all the religions claimed offense was oppression, oh sorry that’s only one religion, you know the one. How sad the LGBT and Feminist society came down on the side of bigots and fascists.

  • It’s time this Safe Space nonsense was scrapped. Outlawed by all UK universities in fact. Nobody deserves a so called Safe Space, being insulted and getting used to/over it is a life lesson. The real world is not a Safe Space. If a Uni was to be my Safe Space, there could be no muslims or marxists or evangelicals allowed. At_All.
    The Left needs to come to remember that:
    The modern civilized world is an invention of and maintained mostly by caucasian people.
    Religion is the greatest threat to mankind and all religion and cults thereabouts should be defiled and diminished.

  • If you disagree with what someone says, then argue back; that’s what debate is. We used to do that at King’s. This so-called ‘safe space’ policy is for people who don’t know how to debate. If you don’t like what you hear, use logical, rational debate to get across your view. This bunch of millenials are over-sensitive, undemocratic and are suppressing free speech. Let’s not say anything in case we offend anyone! PUH-LEASE. Wake up and welcome to the real world.