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Campaign steps up to Smash University of Ulsters' Censorship

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Friday September 22, 2006 18:35author by Radical Student - Ógra Shinn Féinauthor email osfnational at yahoo dot comauthor phone Barry McColgan 07709187907 Report this post to the editors

Public Letter to University of Ulster and UU Students' Union

To University of Ulster and UU Student’s Union,

Ógra Shinn Féin writes this public letter to the University of Ulster and the University of Ulster Student’s Union, in condemnation and protest at your censorship of politics in the University of Ulster.

As a youth political organisation which has been established and active in three UU campuses, Magee, Coleraine and Jordanstown for a number of years, we cannot understand nor accept the decision taken.
Smash Censorship
Smash Censorship

Universities are supposedly a beacon of enlightenment, promoting diversity, tolerance and debate; however your decision to censor diverse political opinion contradicts this.

As a University which delivers courses on politics, supposedly encouraging students to form a better understanding and engage in the world of politics, how then can you justify this protocol which infact censors politics, presenting politics as divisive and unappealing?

A University should be promoting engagement with politics aimed at tackling youth apathy towards voting and politics and a Students Union should be encouraging youth empowerment, promoting students to get involved in decision making.

The protocol contradicts and denies all of this and diminishes the status of the University.

Ógra Shinn Féin actively challenges sectarianism, bigotry and racism. We engage and work alongside other political youth wings, Unionist, Nationalist, Republican and Socialist, obviously differing in some of our political opinions, but in the truest form of democracy, fostering respect between our diverse political opinions.

The political situation in the North of Ireland is one which demands engagement between political opinions; it demands inclusitivity a common understanding of all communities and their diverse political opinions. It does not need exclusativity and for some University and Students Union lecturing them on what is devisive and what is not.

Politics, engagement and fostering respect among ‘all the people’ will help create a shared and peaceful future. Censorship will take us no where.

The youth movements have spoken, both Republican and Unionist, we demand an end to this censorship.

Ógra Shinn Féin will be taking up the matter with Minister Mary Hanafin TD of Department of education and Science, and British Direct Rule Minister Marian Eagle of Department of Employment and Learning.

We will also be raising the matter with NUS-USI and the National Youth Council of Ireland of which we are a member.

We will be consulting the Equality Commission, and we will also be publicly protesting at each of the UU Freshers Fayres.
Further to this we would request a meeting with Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett, and UUSU President Aoibheann Fearon.

The political protocol which you have issued to political societies to ‘govern’ political activity of all Students’ Union Societies is nothing short of censorship, stating that,

‘We would request that you refrain from inviting Party Political figures from your organisation to this event.’

And also stating that other ‘regulations’ must be adhered to and these include:

‘No flags, colours or emblems: nor political leaflets, banners, backdrops or manifestos may be displayed.’

This would have left political parties with nothing at their stall. This is censorship.

The last line of the University’s Mission Statement states that you will strive to,

‘Nurture the values of inclusive citizenship and respect diversity.’

The protocol flies in the face of this and goes against your mission statement, you cannot nurture inclusive citizenship by exclusion, and you cannot respect diversity by censorship.

We will campaign and build up support to overturn this ridiculous and alarming, censorship dictat.

We anticipate your prompt reply.

Is mise,

Barry McColgan
National Organiser
Ógra Shinn Féin

Joseph Donnelly
Chairperson
‘Vol. James Sheridan’
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Jordanstown

Gerry O’Neill
Chairperson
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Magee

Martin Hearty
Chairperson
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Coleraine

Related Link: http://www.osf.pro.ie
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