A conservative student group at the University of Lincoln in the UK criticized their students’ union over a lack of free speech over criticism of an online magazine. In response, the students’ union shut down the group’s social media accounts, thus proving their point.

A student paper called The Linc reported:

Conservative Society suspended from Twitter by SU after criticising their record on freedom of speech

The University of Lincoln Conservative Society has been forced to hand over control of their twitter account to the Students’ Union.

It follows a tweet sharing a report which said the University of Lincoln had a bad record on freedom of speech.

The university as a whole was given a ‘red’ status by online magazine Spiked, which means the institution has “banned and actively censored ideas on campus”.

On Monday afternoon the society tweeted confirmation their twitter account will be suspended until May, however they plan to appeal the decision by the SU.

A spokesman for the student group made this statement:

“On the 6th March 2017, the University of Lincoln Conservative Society, in compliance with a decision by the Student Union (SU) disciplinary panel, handed over control of all social media accounts to the University of Lincoln Students Union, with the accounts to be suspended until the 1st of May 2017.

“This decision was reached by the SU following an anonymous complaint over two tweets by the society account. The first, in relation to freedom of speech, linking an article from ‘Spiked’ and the second was in relation to an SU questionnaire that had to be completed before voting in recent SU elections…

“We feel the decision that was made is misguided and disproportionate, as the society was simply trying to raise the important issues of free speech and democracy, and the tweets in question have been taken out of context.

Here is part of a statement by the Students’ Union, also courtesy of The Linc:

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental value of the Students’ Union. The SU is built on a foundation where students can express opinions and ideas freely within the law.

“The Students’ Union is run by students for students. There are agreed policies in place – based on national guidance for charities – which protect students and aims to provide a safe environment in which complex issues can be discussed and debated.

Ahh, a “safe environment.” That almost sounds like a “safe space” doesn’t it?

Robby Soave of Reason has more on this:

University of Lincoln’s Conservative Student Group Censored for Complaining About Censorship

Talk about proving a point. The University of Lincoln’s student union has suspended a conservative student group’s social media accounts—an act of retaliation against the group for daring to criticize the student union’s hostility toward free speech.

In effect, the British university’s student government is censoring students because they objected to censorship.

“Just to reiterate the irony of this situation,” wrote a different conservative club at another university, “their student union, upon being criticized for being anti-free speech, have silenced those complaining about a lack of free speech!”

The story has gone international as concerns over free speech are growing throughout academia. Here’s a video report from the BBC News:

Even though the group being censored is conservative, there are student protests being planned.

Here’s more from The Linc:

Protest organised against SU over freedom of speech clampdown

A sit-in protest is being organised at the Engine Shed – a student union venue – on Friday in opposition to the University of Lincoln Students’ Union (SU).

It follows the SU’s decision to suspend the Conservative Society’s social media accounts after they tweeted a link to a report which criticised the university’s approach to freedom of speech.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has also described the SU’s actions as “intolerant, illiberal and totalitarian”.

The SU have defended the suspension saying there was a “suspected breach of the code of conduct” and “freedom of speech is a fundamental value of the Students’ Union”.

The event is called the UoL Free-Speech/Repeal the Conservative Society Ban Protest.

Featured image via YouTube.


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