Socialist Worker

Student round-up

Issue No. 1971

Victory for free speech

Keith Shilson, student union president at Middlesex University, London, has won his fight for free speech and student democracy.

Keith was suspended from the university and removed as student union president when he refused to cancel a question and answer session with the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Student campaigners, lecturers and other supporters argued that the student body had the right to decide what meetings students organised, not unelected college managers.

His campaign was also backed by NUS national president, Kat Fletcher.

Some 70 people attended a meeting calling for Keith’s reinstatement and 40 attented a protest outside his hearing.

Student Respect big in Swansea

Over 350 students packed into a Respect meeting with George Galloway MP at Swansea on Monday of this week.

Jonny Jones, the secretary of Student Respect at Swansea, said he was delighted with the turnout. “About 40 students signed up for Respect at the meeting,” he added.

Galloway’s talk ranged from the Gate Gourmet dispute to the war in Iraq.

“It was the biggest political meeting of this kind since the 1970s,” says Fred Fitton, who studied in the city in 1969. “It was fantastic to see young people crammed into a room discussing trade union issues.”

The Swansea meeting is part of a series of Student Respect meetings around the country. For full details go to

Ruling against Lancs protesters

Students and academics at Lancaster University, backed by human rights group Liberty, are fighting for the right to

protest on campus.

Six protesters were found guilty of “aggravated trespass” at a magistrates court following a protest at a corporate conference on campus. They were given two-year conditional discharges and each ordered to pay £300 costs on Friday of last week.

They plan to appeal and the issue is set to be raised at Lancaster University senate this week.

A Liberty spokesperson said, “The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to our democracy, as is freedom of speech. Both have been under attack recently, and we fear verdicts such as this will only hasten their demise.”

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Article information

Sat 8 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1971
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