A pro-Brexit student group has been denied acceptance as an official university group because the word “Britain” in its title might have negative connotations for foreign students.
Eurosceptic students at Keele University applied to their Students’ Union for formal recognition of their group, ‘Students for Britain’. However, they were refused such designation with authorities citing several reasons it would not be ratified, according to Huffington Post UK’s Young Voices.
One reason given by the Societies Executive for denying the society’s application was “concerns over the name of your society”, specifically:
Whilst the committee recognises that Students For Britain is a national campaigning organisation, we feel that the semantics behind the name of the group could be interpreted negatively on first glance, particularly with out internationally diverse student body.
A look at the Clubs & Societies page on Keele University Students’ Union website reveals a host of other organisation recognised by the student body, all of which are allowed to refer to specific nations. They include Bruneian, Filipino, Indian, Hong Kong, Italian, Japanese, Malaysian, Nigerian, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and even Welsh societies.
It is not known whether non-Europeans have ever interpreted that name “negatively on first glance” but questions as to the longevity of Students For Britain were also raised as a reason for objecting to official recognition. The Students’ Union accepted Keele Young Europeans’ assurances they would “promote general European culture even after the referendum had taken place”.
A further objection give was the fact the cost of membership of Students For Britain was set at £0 despite the group being intent “on promoting Euro-skepticism” (sic). The group was told the Students’ Union would not only be unable to “reimburse any payments for political materials”, but that the Societies Executive “would like to know how you would intend to fund your materials and activities”.
Supporters of the pro-Brexit group are still attempting to secure formal recognition by taking the argument beyond their Students’ Union.
— Rackle. (@RayMu93) March 15, 2016