A study evaluating the free speech policies of 16 Scottish universities awarded failing marks to several of the institutions for their systematic silencing of pro-life groups, the Christian Institute reported Sunday.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) assessed the free speech policies of Scottish universities in the light of the Equality Act 2010, which guaranteed protection from discrimination for “philosophical beliefs,” including those regarding the sanctity of life.
Based on their research, SPUC and APS awarded marks to each Scottish university based on its “approach to pro-life speakers and societies”.
The research uncovered particularly egregious censorship of pro-life groups at the universities of Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, whereas the only university to receive a “first-class” mark was the University of St Andrews.
The two groups published the results of their investigation under the title Free2Speak, after which they sent a joint letter to MSPs calling on the Scottish Parliament to address the “censorship epidemic” running through Scottish universities.
“It is vital the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament address the censorship epidemic our universities are facing,” the letter stated. “We would therefore call on the Scottish Parliament to investigate and report on censorship within Scottish universities.”
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“The University of Edinburgh and Stirling University secured fail marks on the basis that the students’ unions refused to affiliate pro-life societies,” SPUC said.
The University of Edinburgh, for instance, received a failing grade after the Students’ Association banned the Life Society Edinburgh from affiliation. The former Vice President of the Student Association noted that the Association has an official pro-choice stance, which informs the group’s positions as an organisation.
The report also describes “the struggles and discrimination” pro-life student groups have encountered at the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, “where students had to pursue legal action before being affiliated as a society.”
“This report evidences what we have known to be true for years,” said Madeline Page, CEO of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students, “that pro-life students struggle to have their voices heard on university campuses.”
“Pro-life students and groups deserve to be treated like any other society on a university campus – free from undue burden and discrimination,” she added.