“The media is always flipping gassed up on ‘freedom of speech, freedom of speech,’” says Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students. She is responding to a furore over the hosting of controversial speakers and groups on campus. “This conversation is annoying. It’s a distraction.”
The debate over what should and shouldn’t be acceptable to say at Britain’s universities – and who should and shouldn’t be allowed to speak – has been bubbling away for some time, but recent events have pushed it back up to the surface.
So, according to the President of the NUS, an organisation designed to represent students, their right to express their opinion is not a pressing issue.
On the equally contentious issue of so-called “safe spaces” she says they can be seen as simple acts of courtesy.
“If the media and these politicians think that we’re snowflakes, they don’t want us to turn into an avalanche… and just start rolling shit out,” she starts, before trailing off, seemingly deciding the analogy is not worth talking about.
This is a stark reminder to many students that a body set up to represent them, do the opposite, and support the systematic suppression of their freedom of expression and right to hold any viewpoint.
Although, this is unsurprisingly for a woman who has stated that, on Brexit, we should “reverse the whole thing” so it is safe to assume that the NUS will continue to undermine democracy, and those students that go against the mainstream, liberal teachings in UK universities, and will continue to promote a rhetoric of censorship and oppression.