Unelected Panel at Leeds University Student Union Bans The Sun, Denies Students Referendum.


We have reported before about how Student Unions are clamping down on freedoms on campus, and it seems Leeds University are the latest to fall prey to union desires to ban anything they oppose.

A protester shows her support for the paper at Leeds University

On Monday, a motion was put forward to ban the Sun because of Page 3: under Leeds Student Union rules an unaccountable, unelected panel of 13 students was randomly selected to hear the motion. Of those 13 just ten decided in favour of banning the newspaper. Leeds claims to have 30,761 students, but SU rules determines that just 10 votes, 0.03% of the student body, is large enough to ban the paper without consulting other students via referendum.

A campaign has been set up to push for a referendum with its founder arguing that such a dramatic step of banning a newspaper is something the whole university needs to be consulted on. 600 signatures are needed in the next week for the referendum to be held. The petition goes live tomorrow and closes in 7 days.

Leeds University has prior form in banning objectionable material. They banned Blurred Lines just 3 days before term started, without consulting students. As this was a ban by Student Union Executives, not a motion from students, there is no ability for it to be put to a referendum.



  1. So I reckon it’s probably necessary to address the wild collection of inaccuracies in this article, namely those surrounding the democratic procedures of Leeds University Union.

    The last time there was a review of the Union’s strategy (2010), a new system for students to set policy was passed by a campus-wide referendum. This was done because students didn’t want to have to vote on every single policy suggestion in huge AGM’s, the process is as follows:

    The Student Exec – 6 students incidentally elected by the largest student turnout in British universities – take in ideas from students and ensure they are legally and financially sound.

    The idea is then taken to a body of elected reps, in this case the Activities Exec, 16 individuals who represents groups of societies. They take the ideas to the societies they represent and get feedback from them.

    The reps then represent the ideas of 18,000 students (that is the number of students who are part of societies) and put them forward to a panel of 12-16 students who are selected to reflect the demographic make-up of students: there are more women than men, 3 international students, at least 1 student with dependents etc etc.

    Those students vote based on speeches from the idea proposer, feedback from the elected reps and exec officers and students who attend (every student is welcome to attend), and voted on by this representative panel.

    What precisely is the issue with that?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here