Straight, white men were banned from attending a series of lectures on equality hosted by the British University and College Union at a conference held in Liverpool last week.
The lectures covered four different topics relating to diversity, they are: ethnic, LGBT, disabled and female fights for equality. The UCU ruled that anyone that didn’t identify with any of these categories could not attend the lectures as they wanted other individuals attending to be able to express their “protected characteristics” and to provide a “safe space”.
During the UCU meeting at Liverpool, a motion was proposed to allow people of any identification to attend the lectures, but it was swiftly denied. This was the only motion at the meeting that was denied by the union. This ban of straight white men also includes members of the UCU, regardless of whether or not they are elected by their branch union.
Lecturers organising the equality events have received backlash for what many see as discrimination, but some lecturers have defended their decision to not include certain people within the event. One lecturer, Ciara Doyle – who teaches Youth and Community Work at Greenwich University – stated that she would not attend the conference if all equality reps were admitted. “We see in the union movement that some people’s voices are far louder than others,” said Doyle.
In opposition to this, Emma – Jane Philips who is a member of the UCU’s equality committee disagrees entirely with this ban, stating “To infer that someone does not understand someone’s situation just because you don’t tick a box is insulting. It is ridiculous that people who regard equality as their life can’t attend our equality conference,”
Banning people of certain races from an event in the name of a “safe space” is not entirely uncommon, but these safe spaces usually applied to particular areas on campuses across the country, not always relating to specific lectures but in some cases safe spaces have been created following certain events. Many readers will remember the safe space that was created for students following Breitbart Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ event at Pitt university.
Needless to say, these so called equality lectures have already failed in their goal of fighting inequality and as the idea of safe spaces becomes more popular, we will only see more segregation and division within college communities.