Life is concerned at reports last night of a prolife talk at Oxford University being disrupted by pro-abortion protesters and police having to be called to restore order.
The event hosted by Oxford Students for Life was held to discuss abortion in Ireland. Protestors interrupted the event and kept chanting loudly for 40 minutes before police were called to intervene and the event then resumed.
Responding to the incident, Life’s Director of Education Anne Scanlan said “This has now become a routine campaign of intimidation to shut down the prolife voice at Oxford. In 2014 another gang of pro-abortion students managed to force the university to cancel a debate held by Oxford Students for Life. Thankfully the talk still went ahead last night.
Just two weeks ago Universities Minister Jo Johnson was telling universities that young people need to ‘accept the legitimacy of healthy rigorous debate’. Well the minister should know that Oxford University is a perpetual violator when it comes to shutting down free speech from the pro-life movement.
If Oxford University wishes to retain its reputation as a university which embraces the values of tolerance and freedom of expression, it has a duty, not just an expectation, to ensure that all discussion and debate can be conducted in an atmosphere which is peaceful and free from fear or intimidation.
If such a guarantee cannot be given by Oxford University then it is time for the new Office for Students to put words into action and force the University to take all necessary action to protect students from hooliganism and intimidation and facilitate healthy discussion and debate.
Only this week we heard of a university student union president in Ireland being removed because of her prolife views. We understand that the pro-abortion lobby is worried about the truth about abortion being exposed if the prolife voice is heard. We do not understand, however, why universities as places of higher learning would be complicit in actions aimed at shutting out the truth. The campaign of intimidation and harassment of prolifers at universities must stop now.”