Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
5 views
5 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
32 views
32 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
29 views
29 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event

These comment pieces represent the opinions of both the Students’ Union and Liberate the Debate with regards to the  recent cancellation of the Society’s freedom of speech debate.

Students’ Union President’s response –
Frida Gustafsson


On Friday I made the decision not to chair an event organised by Liberate the Debate (LtD), and I know some students have been wondering why.

To put it simply, I decided that it was not appropriate for me to chair this event as I did and do not want to be perceived to endorse the inflammatory views of Carl Benjamin, and through this alienate a significant group of students from our Union who had shared their concerns with me. My chairing of the event had come to stand in the way of the greater role I have at Sussex – namely, to be your lead representative of the Union.

When LtD first notified us of the event, the Union was made aware that one of the speakers – Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad – had in the past made abhorrent comments towards women and people of colour. However, none of the comments that were found as part of our external speakers procedure were illegal nor did they meet any criteria in the procedure that would prevent him from taking part in the event.

As such, there was little we could legally do but to allow the event to go ahead. We worked with the society to make sure that Carl Benjamin’s views would be properly challenged, for example by debating an anti-fascist and by giving the audience time to question the speakers’ views.

It was also decided that I was to chair the event to make sure that at no point would he be given the opportunity to spout abuse while at Sussex. The reason why I agreed to chair the event was not to endorse the views of the speakers, but to ensure that he and the other speaker would be properly challenged if necessary.

However, after it was decided that I was to chair this event, I was approached by a number of students of colour who shared their significant concerns about this speaker and my involvement. Students whose identity felt questioned and existence unsafe by the presence of Carl Benjamin on this campus, a place the students call home. That is why I decided to recuse myself from the event, and let the society know that I would no longer be chairing it.

We offered the society another independent chair in case they chose to go ahead despite the concerns highlighted from students, but made it clear that I was no longer an appropriate chair for this event.

If I’m honest, I was quite relieved to no longer be chairing the event with Carl Benjamin. I stand for a kind and inclusive Union, and for challenging and respectful debates – neither of which I believe Carl Benjamin nor his views uphold.

I hope Sussex will understand the reasons I had, and respect the decision I made.


Liberate the Debate’s response –
Edward Seccombe


It is important to recognise the legitimate concerns of those students who approached our Students’ Union regarding the presence of one of the speakers on our campus. However, whilst we recognise and categorically defend their freedom to expression, I have to express disappointment that such recognition is not reciprocated.

I have no doubt that once again, the opposing narrative will pin the blame of the cancellation onto the actions we took, but this ignores a wider context.

In our correspondence with the Students’ Union, it was made clear to us that we had full discretion in selecting an appropriate chair, without regard to any vetting which the Students’ Union may deem appropriate.

I hope that our Students’ Union will take some degree of responsibility for the events which transpired, given that they made the decision to pull the Chair five hours before the event and fully cancel it as the speakers arrived on campus.

One cannot ignore the findings of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, to which both our Students’ Union President and our Vice-Chancellor provided evidence, which found that we ought to have the ‘right to say things which, though lawful, others may find disturbing or upsetting.’ The report found that there are a variety of attitudes which are restricting free speech on university campuses, including ‘intolerant attitudes, often incorrectly using the banner of “no-platforming” and “safe-space” policies’. In accordance with this report, I believe that minority groups who hold unpopular opinions should not be subject to undue scrutiny by Students’ Unions.

I can not stress enough the importance of this report, and encourage every student who finds themselves within the ‘free speech discourse’ to read it. Many of its findings are alarming, and our Students’ Union ought to take into account its findings when making decisions pertaining to freedom of expression.

It is important to remember that Liberate the Debate has worked, and will continue to work with our Students’ Union to ensure that freedom of expression is respected and upheld on our campus.

This is yet another attack on our freedom of expression at university. For those interested, I recommend reading our society statement which can be found on the Liberate the Debate Facebook group.


Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
5 views
5 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
32 views
32 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
29 views
29 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
5 views
Arts
5 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
19 views
Film & Theatre
19 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
32 views
Sports
32 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
29 views
Arts
29 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
Arts
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1128 views1
Campus News
1128 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
59 views1
News
59 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
64 views
Campus News
64 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
55 views
Opinion
55 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
383 views
Arts
383 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
388 views
Arts
388 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
360 views
Arts
360 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
426 views
Arts
426 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
443 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
383 views
Arts
383 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
359 views
Arts
359 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
544 views
Campus News
544 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
312 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
908 views
Arts
908 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
368 views
Arts
368 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
451 views
Artist Focus
451 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…