Student Unions Are Destroying Freedom. Don’t Let Them

Reece Warren calls for the upholding of free speech on campus, and resistance to illiberal leftist Student Union efforts to suppress it

There are no two ways about this: Student Unions up and down the country are annihilating the concept of freedom. Why? Because the Student Left are the group that shout the loudest – they’re an oppressive force within Universities (and even some colleges). Most people blame the staff for creating a left-wing bias within education, but I refute that claim entirely. I blame the students themselves.

I pride myself on respecting other peoples’ beliefs, whether or not I agree with them or not – I feel it’s fundamental that disagreements of opinion have to be respected within all issues, excluding those motivated by hatred like racism or homophobia. With that being said though, I’d like to respond to a few issues that I’ve come across in the past few weeks.

To begin: Kings’ College London’s Student Council has approved motions to remove Lord Carey’s image from their Strand campus, the stated grounds being that Kings’ students don’t want to be represented by homophobia. Let me put this bluntly – disagreeing with gay marriage does not, and will never, make you homophobic. In addition, inferring, from a speech, that an ‘inferiority’ of gay marriage is undeniable compared to that of heterosexual marriage, is not, in my opinion, homophobic.

The fundamental thing people need to realise is that this man achieved phenomenal things by becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury. He holds what is, for a committed Christian, the perfectly tenable opinion that a ‘marriage’ enforced by law will always be beneath a marriage enforced by the will of God. But he seems to have run foul of some people’s inability to comprehend that disagreeing with gay marriage does not, and will not ever, amount to homophobia – and that disagreement isn’t necessarily motivated by any hatred at all.

What about the recent developments within Greenwich University? The Student Union attempting to ban ‘The Sun’ from its campus? This once again demonstrates my position that Student Unions up and down the country are determined to eliminate freedom. Which is rather odd, seeing that, a few years ago, the Left were supposed to represent the opposite of the elimination of freedom. So what’s happened?

The rise of radical feminism and the LGBT movement, I feel, are mostly to blame for this. They act out of hatred – hatred for society which doesn’t cater to their every whim – so they attempt to implement their own microcosm of society within Universities. They wish to form a Utopia within their own campus walls through an authoritarian rule dictating to students what they can and cannot do with regards to their song choice, newspaper choice and even ability to express their own opinions!

National_Union_of_Students_UK_logoNow, I’m not saying all Student Unions are part of the problem at all. I personally believe the Kings’ Student Union is run by a very competent and genuine guy who, unfortunately, has the misfortune of having to represent the vocal and oppressive few. Think of these people like the ‘pressure groups’ within society who scream the loudest, and thus give the illusion that they represent the whole: yet through the use of rationality we can deduce that this isn’t the case at all.

I recently had an interview to become a Political Editor of a University magazine which is deemed to be notoriously left-wing. After speaking to their primary editors, they argued they were justified in representing the Left, as that’s where the majority of their readership is – something which I completely understand. However, I argued that, in order to be a student magazine, all students have to be represented (even in a small part) and if they got someone like me on board, it would at least begin to balance out the bias and improve the readership from students who don’t describe themselves as left-wing.

Why is this relevant? Because Universities need to reinstate one of their core purposes – debate. This is something which is being denied, up and down the country, because of vocal left-wing students whoh are simply intolerant of other people’s opinions. If you’re not in agreement with same-sex marriage, then you’re by definition a homophobe. If you’re not in agreement with banning Blurred Lines, then you’re by definition a misogynist. Maybe we should just stop ignorant name-calling and begin to tolerate other people’s opinions, yes?

We as students receive horrid publicity within the media, based on the vocal minority – the same minority which calls for yearly protests on Issues X, Y and Z, and which achieves nothing but bad publicity for all students. I recently saw that Jen Salisbury Jones won her election to be NUS Delegate on the simple promise of spending all the wasted NUS affiliation money on alcohol: I have to say what a phenomenal achievement that is, and one I hope other candidates across the country imitate.

What I find vastly ironic is that, when Michael Chessum was arrested for protesting for ULU to not be disbanded, people on the Student Left came out and said ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF SPEECH’ – why? Because they agree with him and because other people they don’t name call them bigots for running against freedom of speech. Yet, when others utilise this very same ‘freedom’, they’re branded as homophobes?

Throughout my time at Kings’ I will do everything I can to stop this authoritarian and despotic oppression of those outside the Left. Because, at the very least, we as students pay £9,000 pounds per year, and shouldn’t be told what we can and cannot read on campus, and sure as hell shouldn’t be name-called for having a different opinion!

I write this article as a call-to-arms to other University students and students across the country – enough is enough. Don’t let your Union, Council or NUS destroy your freedom and oppress you into one point of view. Stick to your principles, assuming you’re not a racist or homophobe, and fight for what you believe in.


  1. Look, there is some truth to what you say. Student Unions are guilty of some terrible things of late, suppressing freedoms of all sorts (from chucking atheists out of fresher’s fayres to banning a pole fitness society as it “sexualises” women).

    But your choice of a group choosing to label Lord Carey homophobic and disassociate from him is pretty thin on the “illiberal” front. Freedom isn’t just the right to say what you want. It also involves everyone else having the right to completely not respect what you say and remove themselves from any association from you. There is no right to have your speech respected.

    You may not think he is a homophobe. I very much do, and his positions on every LGBT issue since he was able to utter anything about them has always been consistently, understandably given his religion, homophobic. Whether you wish to pretend otherwise is up to you.

    Far better to use the recent “banning” of a Catholic speaker on equal marriage which would’ve made for far firmer ground for your freedom of speech argument. Sadly you started the article off with arguing not just for freedom of speech but freedom from criticism. And that is no freedom at all.

  2. those same students when they become successful will change to Tories or wealthy champagne socialist, Brainwashing the students is old hat,and falling for it is also pld hat,The young are a pushover for the left, always have been.

  3. “‘inferiority’ of gay marriage is undeniable compared to that of heterosexual marriage, is not, in my opinion, homophobic.” – You are an idiot.

  4. The case studies the writer uses are very precarious ground, but the fundamental point of the article is sound, that the student representation seems to be led by the intolerant, opinionated few and are stifling opinion and debate as a whole. Perhaps that is what leads to such student apathy within university unions, students don’t feel represented because by and large their views are not

    • I have always found that those preach tolerance are invariably the most intolerant people of all. Henry Ford once said that you can have a Ford Model T any colour you want, providing it is black. The soap dodging lentil-eating lefties now say that you can hold any view you want providing it is the one rubber-stamped by them.

  5. Well said Reece. I took part in a debate on Page 3 at Sussex University last night, and was horrified by the intolerance shown by the vast majority of the students in the room. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me – but they ought at least have the courtesy to listen to what I have to say. Instead, I was forced to abandon my closing arguments because I was shouted down before I could even finish the first sentence.

    I do feel that the tutors and teachers are in part to blame. Some of the opinions on show (‘women MUST be oppressed by men – how else to explain that there are more men in senior positions?’) have clearly been taught as fact.

    Anyway, we certainly need to do more to reverse the trend. If they’re shouting loudly, we’re going to have to start shouting louder.


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