YUSU President Sam Maguire has slammed UKIP in a recent post on the YUSU website.
The blog post comes after UKIP Association of York was recently ratified by YUSU as an official society.
Maguire began his post by acknowledging that many students may be concerned by this development, before the reassurance that “I and YUSU have a commitment to equality of opportunity at the University of York.”
“We are committed to ensuring that the diversity of our membership is recognised, and that every student has equal access to our services, to those of the University and to their course.”
“I, personally, don’t believe that UKIP, the national political party, shares these values.”
“It is a near-weekly occurrence to see one of their representatives caught in a political quagmire after a racist or homophobic remark.”
“I cannot, in good conscience, as President of a Union that represents thousands of students from many diverse backgrounds, be seen not to decry any party who so oppose the very freedom and opportunities that so many of our students and I hold dear.”
Maguire went on to acknowledge the duty of YUSU and the University to uphold students’ right to freedom of speech.
“I can’t and shouldn’t try to oppose the right of student supporters of UKIP to assemble on campus, to form a society or access support or funding from YUSU for it.”
“The right to freedom of speech, however, is not to be confused with the right not to be disagreed with, and I can and shall take the opportunities I get to speak out against any views I see proposed by any member that compromise the values of equality that are at the core of our Union.”
When asked for comment by Vision, Michael Hollins, Secretary to the UKIP Association of York said “It is regrettable that the President of YUSU feels the need to display the same kind of prejudice that he attributes to certain members of UKIP.”
“He assumes, without justification, that by virtue of our political affiliation we threaten to “compromise the values of equality” thus revealing his own prejudgements.”
“By way of assurance, let me make clear that any member of UKIP that openly displays any kind of racism, homophobia etc. is thrown out the party and members of racist organisations such as the BNP are completely banned from entry.”
“Last year we had Amjad Bashir on campus who is an MEP for the Yorkshire and Humber region, chosen by UKIP members, and is a British-Pakistani Muslim.”
“I would welcome an open debate with Sam about UKIP’s policies, or alternatively he could ask our Chairman, Niko, who himself is an EU student.”