OSFL in the news – a roundup

by Oxford Students

The last fortnight has been a particularly busy one for OSFL. The attempt to block our right to free speech has understandably been met with a considerable reaction well beyond the dreaming spires of Oxford. An eventful OUSU Council meeting, where the attack on free speech failed but a motion to ban LIFE advertising passed, has been reported comprehensively not only in university newspapers but also in national and international media.

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The Cherwell, the oldest independent student paper in Oxford, focused primarily on OUSU’s decision to ban LIFE advertising. The OSFL President is briefly quoted as saying: “we’re very pleased that OUSU Council voted to defend free expression against an undemocratic no-platform clause”. The response of LIFE is also quoted, questioning whether a truly pro-choice group would seek to deny its pregnant women non-directive counselling and the opportunity for accommodation and practical support.

LIFE themselves published a response to the motion on their website. It was very similar to what was quoted by the Cherwell and strongly questioned the legitimacy behind OUSU’s claims that they offered only a directive service. They also commended OSFL for “resisting this authoritarian attempt by a small group of students to stifle freedom of expression at the University of Oxford”.

The story also reached the Catholic Herald. It picked up on the fact that the clause in the OUSU motion never to platform pro-life groups raised concerns not only among pro-life students but the majority of students who wished to uphold the principles of free speech.

The blog ‘Conservative Woman’ published an article about the suppression of free speech on campus. They used OSFL’s fight at the OUSU Council as an example, as well as a demonstration outside an abortion debate held in Cambridge by their feminist society. The blog quotes Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of BPAS, talking about the “the moral cowardice of no-platforming”.

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Life Site News, perhaps the biggest pro-life news website in the world, described in detail the OUSU Council meeting and its results. The article also mentions in tandem the demonstration in Cambridge, and the importance of making sure there is enough opportunity to see these issues discussed.

For those of you learning Finnish in your spare time, news of the Council meeting even reached Finland. I would love to summarise it for you but fear that may be a little beyond me.

(J.C.)