By Chris Malburn
10th May, 2015
As it’s another slow news day, here’s an opinion article! This is an abridged version of a speech Chris gave a couple of years ago as President of the University of Liverpool Humanists at an event on campus censorship. The purpose was to discuss the reasons to oppose censorship of even the most abhorrent of views, and when it might be acceptable to limit free expression, for the public good.
(For context, the event was soon after a controversial Islamic cleric, Mufti Ismail Menk, was refused a platform at several UK universities because of his views on homosexuality, while the Liverpool Guild of Students did not refuse him a platform. N.B. This article should be taken as a discussion piece, not as an official position!)
Through the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist & Secular Student Societies (AHS for short), I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from around the country who run groups similar to my own, and there have been an alarming number of instances where Student Unions have been willing to censor AHS societies on grounds of offense.
The most notable example would be Reading AHS, whose committee was forcibly ejected from their freshers’ fair and suspended from their University courses for displaying a pineapple named ‘Mohammed’. (more »)
By Chris Malburn
27th Apr, 2015
It’s a bit of slow news week, so here’s a Blast from the Past. Chris wrote this article for the Huffington Post back in August 2014, originally titled ‘Why the Latest EHRC Guidance for Universities is a Secular Victory’, to give some context for the effective ban on gender segregation in university events and explain its importance in a secular education system.
The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) recently issued new guidance on university events in the UK, which means that universities can no longer allow gender segregation to be enforced at events on campus. This flies in the face of the controversial guidance issued by Universities UK (UUK) in November 2013, which permitted gender segregation on religious grounds, and is, in my opinion, a fantastic outcome for anyone who values equality and a secular society.
Secularism isn’t just about separation of church and state – it’s about ensuring that people of all religious viewpoints are treated equally under the law and that no-one faces discrimination simply for the views they hold. It also holds that no-one should receive special privileges for the views they hold either.
We’re very fortunate to live in a society which is broadly secular, admittedly with notable exceptions such as an established church and state-funded religious schools, but today at least no-one gets imprisoned for apostasy or blasphemy. (more »)
By The AHS
18th Apr, 2015
Save the date! We are pleased to announce that this years’ AHS AGM will be at the University of Warwick on the weekend of the 17th – 19th July.
Not only is the AGM the best opportunity for you have your say in the AHS’s future, but it’ll also be a fantastically fun weekend, with a guest appearance from AC Grayling! The excellent Kate Smurthwaite will be providing the Saturday night entertainment too!
Keep an eye out for more information soon in the AHS Newsletter, and on the website. A few details are available below.
See you there!
Standard Ticket: £10
Two nights accommodation, standard: £34
Two nights accommodation, en-suite: £50
Tickets for this years AGM are available from the BHA website: https://humanism.org.uk/events/ahs-agm2015/
As usual, travel grants will also be available for those traveling a significant distance to the AGM.
Official AGM Business
Every affiliated AHS society has two votes allocated to them for AGM business. These are allocated by default to the President/Chair and the AHS Representative, however, other committee members may vote on their behalf. They make up the Caucus, the decision-making body of the AHS.
Any student can submit a motion or run for Executive position the AGM:
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