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Christian unions could benefit from government uni plans

Thu 03 May 2018
By Cara Bentley

It's thought Christian Unions could benefit from government plans announced by the Universities Minister who said free speech on campus should be protected from ‘overzealous’ regulations.

Student groups in recent years have faced increasing scenarios of ‘no-platforming’, often from fellow students, over external speakers with views considered extreme or offensive. This has often affected Jewish speakers, Christian guests but also feminists like Germaine Greer.  

Sam Gyimah, the government’s Universities Minister met university and student groups on Thursday to announce that there would be a new set of guidelines which would protect free speech on campus.

He said it would be wrong to silence “unfashionable or unpopular” opinions and that he would propose that the Department of Education should write some new guidelines to "provide clarity". 

Gyimah added: “There is a risk that overzealous interpretation of a dizzying variety of rules is acting as a brake on legal free speech on campus.”

Speaking about this announcement, Simone Ramacci, a chaplaincy intern at the University of Essex told Premier: “I would say that it’s not really possible to say whether these measures are good or not until they come out”

Ramacci said the University of Essex had not had any problems and that: “as long as people are able to find ways to witness to people that work in the current cultural setting this is a very minor issue that is limited to a very few topics.”

He said these can be: "topics such as LGBT issues or termination of pregnancy issues can be controversial but it can also depend a lot on how these issues are approached by different groups."

Simone explained that even sensitive issues can be talked about but "if people feel threatened…if people feel personally attacked there’s not going to be any possibility of constructive dialogue, which is what Christian groups on campus should be aiming for."

 

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