Goldsmiths Student Union Fail To Make Any Conclusions In Their ‘Conclusion’
At the tail end of last month it was reported that Maryam Namazie was subjected to harassment and intimidation by members of The Islamic Society during a planned talk at Goldsmiths University. Video footage arrived shortly after confirming these reports to be true. Goldsmiths Student Union promised an investigation on the 3rd of December, however alarm bells began to ring when instead of immediately condemning the inexcusable behaviour documented in the video – the Student Union demanded the removal of the footage, in what appears to be a cynical attempt at damage control.
Since then, many including myself have wondered what the findings of that ‘investigation’ would be. Well, we found out today and ‘disappointing’ doesn’t quite cover it. Here are their ‘conclusions’ in full:
Goldsmiths SU will be taking the following actions:
(i) We will arrange meetings with the Islamic and Atheist, Secularist and Humanist societies individually and identify actions that will be taken by each society. This may be followed by disciplinary action against individual society members and/or a society.
(ii) We will review our external speaker procedure and safe space policy in line with best practice from other institutions .
(iii) We will arrange a meeting with all our societies to brief them on the reviewed procedure, including our safe space policy. No society will be able to proceed with an external speaker event unless this briefing has been attended.
(iv) We will ensure that there is a comprehensive and compulsory annual training session for clubs and societies who wish to invite external speakers to events delivered as part of the training programme that takes place at the start of the year.
Considering this statement was titled ‘Conclusion of Investigation’, it seems remarkably void of any actual conclusions.
Notable by its absence are any efforts to reiterate the importance of free speech on UK campuses, or any desire to condemn the thuggish behaviour from ISOC bullies towards a female minority.
In fact, this ‘conclusion’ seems to focus solely on complaints raised by the Islamic Society! Namely their ‘concerns’ about ‘safe spaces’ and their objections to an external speaker. Why would this whole debacle require them to review their external speaker policy unless the Student Union agreed that ISOC members had legitimate grievances about Maryam being invited?
Who knows, maybe they are reviewing the external speaker policy in response to the Islamic Society’s hosting of Hamza Tzortzis earlier in the year. When Tzortzis isn’t linking homosexuality to “sexual abuse of children, polyandry and cannibalism” he’s explaining what conditions make it acceptable to have sex with 9 year old girls. Maryam on the other hand, just champions human rights and criticises extremism. And is still owed an apology from the Student Union, ISOC, The Feminist Society and LGBT Society.
Also, it strikes me as odd that they would emphasise the word ‘may’ in the comment about diciplinary action. May? Surely, after viewing the video, diciplinary action is a given? Unless of course we are to believe you are perfectly ok to disrupt a talk, turn off equipment, behave threateningly and create an intimidating environment without consequences at Goldsmiths University.
I can’t help but feel this is an attempt to legitimise the victimhood narrative of The Islamic Society and begin to paint this whole issue as a 6 of 1, half a dozen of the other type scenario when the facts remain thus:
- The Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society invited Maryam Namazie to speak, as is their prerogative.
- Members of the Islamic Society turned up to the talk of their own free will and waged a campaign of thuggish behaviour including turning of Maryam’s presentation equipment, shouting out, possible threats, turning off lights and violating personal space.
- The Islamic society then lied about what happened.
The Student Union seems unable, or unwilling to deal with these very simple facts. Given they don’t appear to have the capacity to deal with bullying and flagrant violations of free speech in their own house, I can’t help but feel this needs to be escalated to a higher level than the Student Union. They are clearly out of their depth.