At a council meeting yesterday the SRC voted against affiliating the anti-choice society Glasgow Students for Life (GSL): 29 council members voted against affiliation and three did not vote.
This decision was brought to an appeal after GSL threatened to bring legal action against the SRC for rejecting their application for SRC affiliation for a second year. The society claimed that the SRC's decision was in violation of free speech, although the society was still able to meet and speak on campus. Non-affiliate status simply means that the society cannot access SRC funding and promotional materials.
GSL responded to the decision in a statement on their Facebook group: "We are extremely disappointed to see that Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council has voted against the affiliation of Glasgow Students for Life. GSL now has little option but to seek remedy in the courts, as indicated to the SRC when we appealed their decision."
SRC President Lauren McDougall told The Glasgow Guardian:
“The SRC support the right for all people to exercise bodily autonomy, to have free and safe access to healthcare and to make decisions about their own lives free from judgement. The SRC exists not only to represent students, but also to promote and prioritise our students’ health & wellbeing. As a progressive organisation that prides itself on championing matters of equality and human rights, we cannot abandon our values even when faced with opposition from a vocal minority of students.
"It has been claimed that the decision to not affiliate Glasgow Students for Life (GSL) has infringed their free speech and has denied them a platform on campus to share their views. However GSL have held several events over the last few months in the Turnbull Hall [Catholic Chaplaincy], despite their non-affiliate status, and it has already been made clear to GSL in previous correspondence that the SRC’s decision does not constitute a ban. After considering Glasgow Students for Life’s complaint, alongside all correspondence between the SRC and GSL, Council voted by an overwhelming majority to uphold the SRC Executive’s original decision not to affiliate Glasgow Students for Life.”
The Glasgow Guardian fully supports the SRC’s decision and rejects Glasgow Students for Life’s argument that this hinders their freedom of speech, as it has been made quite clear to them that they are still free to meet and speak on campus. To read our editorial on the issue, click here.