Student societies are in many ways wonderful. They are a brilliant way to make friends, meet people with similar interests, broaden your horizons, try something new or improve a current skill. You can find societies you probably wouldn’t even believe existed, Harry Potter society, love that, a chocolate society, yes please and even a Dog society!!!!!! My question is amongst all these wonderful societies, where’s the line on what you can’t form a society for.
Just this past week it has been rumoured that a Pro Life society had made it’s way onto the Bristol scene ( yes I still keep up with what goes on in Bristol, there’s always a drama). So this is not a post to start dragging the Pro Life movement, no I do not agree with their views but lets leave that to another blog.
Many students were quick to express their distain for this society and further concern that a rather offensive statement made by assumedly a society member was allowed to be posted on a popular anonymous Facebook page known as “Bristruths”.
Reading through this made me wonder what kind of monitoring these societies do have and whether or not there are any restrictions or prohibited subjects a society can form itself on. The student Union are essentially the body these societies fall under and as long as your a second year student ( I think) you can put forward any idea you like for a society but what are the guidelines for what the SU can say no to….
Of course they are obligated to uphold the rights of students to exercise free speech however this is a qualified right under Article 11 of the Human Rights act 1998, so in short if you abuse it in a way that is prohibited the courts are going to take it away pretty damn fast. ( hahahaha imagine if I’ve got this bit wrong, law students assemble)
A Pro life society doesn’t appear to be listed on the SU website so I can’t 100% say where this society came from or why it was seen at the SU fair, but could this be something that could be strongly argued against? As much as many strongly oppose it’s beliefs, many also oppose the Pro Choice movement, so if you have one and not the other is that wrong? or is it a case where having both is wrong? or should it just be that any society of this nature should be allowed to function and grow as long as they do not pose any threat to other students or its own members by inciting hate and violence.
If we removed all societies that different students held issue with, I don’t think there would be many left…. I’d throw a fit if someone tried to get rid of the Dog Society.
As an unaccountable body it would be a lot more concerning if the SU started shutting down free speech….