We refer to the recent commentary in the national media regarding the decision of Oxford SU, the student union of the University of Oxford, to suspend its commercial and financial relationship with the Oxford Union, the private members’ club and debating society.
The press coverage erroneously conflates the recent motion passed by the Student Council of Oxford SU in relation to the Oxford Union with the Oxford Union’s decision to invite Dr Kathleen Stock as a speaker. The motion was unrelated to Dr Stock’s intended talk. It did not mention Dr Stock or any other speaker at the Oxford Union, instead citing long-standing concerns relating to alleged bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and data privacy breaches which affect students. The motion was democratically passed at a meeting of students, following a debate which also did not mention Dr Stock.
It is deeply unfortunate that the media has chosen to imply a connection between the Student Council’s vote and Dr Stock’s talk. Oxford SU is a charity which exists to promote the interests and welfare of students and to provide social, cultural, and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate. We are committed to freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and will defend the right of people to have controversial and unpopular ideas debated as an integral part of university life and the student experience.
Draft minutes from student council meeting