An email from Student Rights to Queen Mary (PDF), University of London, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveals that Student Rights sought to have a week-long series of events critiquing the ‘war on terror’ cancelled. The ‘anti-extremism’ group pressured the university to stop the entire programme of talks on what seem to be highly spurious grounds.
The most revealing paragraph is at the end, where Student Rights researcher Rupert Sutton writes:
Here at Student Rights we would urge the university to reconsider their decision to allow this week to go ahead. Whilst discussing and criticising the legal issues associated with War on Terror should not be a topic which students cannot discuss, this event does not seek to do that. Instead, it seeks to inflame anger by fuelling grievances against the West and its response to those who would attack it. This has nothing to do with justice and will only serve to provoke hatred and division on our campuses.
What seems clear from this suggestion is that, on the basis of incredibly broad and sweeping generalisations about a whole series of different student-organised events on campus, Student Rights sets itself up as the arbiter of what is acceptable for students to say and hear and while paying lip service to freedom of speech, seems to have little respect for it in practice.