Union members disciplined after Coulter protest

Students chanted “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A group of students will face an Oxford Union disciplinary committee this weekend, following a protest during Ann Coulter’s speech on Monday evening.

The five students briefly chanted inside the chamber, before marching out in protest at the Union’s decision to give Coulter a platform.

They also allege that Union security “forcibly confiscated our membership cards and physically manhandled the one person of colour among us.”

The protesters have now been called in front of a disciplinary committee, reportedly for actions deemed to “distress, offend or intimidate other members”.

Union president Laali Vadlamani said it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing disciplinary matter.

Prior to the start of Coulter’s talk, a small group of activists gathered outside the Union’s Frewin Court gate. They handed out leaflets, seen by Cherwell, which describe Coulter as a “white supremacist”.

Cherwell understands that the leaflets were produced by the revolutionary socialist group, rs21, though most of the protesters on the ground were not themselves members.

The leaflet also alleges she has “advocated for genocidal war against Muslims”, quoting her as saying “we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”

It goes on to note how Coulter has described taking away women’s right to vote as a “personal fantasy”, as well as saying that survivors of sexual violence are “girls trying to
get attention”.

The protest then extended into the chamber. After Coulter made a remark that she was devoted to the Trump campaign “as soon as he made that Mexican rapist speech”, around five students stood up and began chanting “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”

They then left as security officials entered, shouting as they went.

The protesters told Cherwell: “The point of our action was to show opposition because this ideologue should not have been legitimised by dignifying her with a platform.

“We were forced to leave by security who forcibly confi scated our membership cards and physically manhandled the one person of colour among us.

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“We hope that in future Union members will voice their dissent tooppose hosting speakers like this, and the Union will not offer a platform to white supremacists, fascists and hate speakers as a way to try to maintain relevance.”

“As long as this institution continues to platform explicit advocates of racially motivated genocide, to platform proud Islamophobes or dabblers in anti-Semitism, to platform rape apologists, or those sympathetic to white supremacy, we will not stand silent.”

Students were divided as to whether the protest was the most effective way to respond to Coulter.

Fraser Maclean, a history and politics student at Univ, told Cherwell: “We saw two responses to vicious social conservatism that night. One was a short, childish protest; the
other was a series of smart questions that attacked Coulter’s views.

“It was quite clear that the latter was more effective, as shown by the largest rounds of applause of the night being in support of questions, both from the president and from audience members, which challenged Coulter’s prejudices and claims firmly but respectfully.”

However, Jacob Armstrong, a third year Wadhamite, told Cherwell: “To me, the Oxford Union has always been an exclusive institution of self-important people who are more interested in free speech as an abstract principle than in lived reality.

“Ann Coulter has consistently supported the Trump administration’s policies which rob individuals in the US and across the world of their full capacity to participate in public debate, and does not engage with their testimony.

“The protestors have every right to challenge the intellectual platform Ann Coulter was placed on, and it is an indictment of the Union that this right is being challenged.”

Harry Samuels, the Union’s returning officer, told Cherwell that the president, Laali Vadlamani, would not comment on an ongoing investigation.

He said: “The Union’s disciplinary procedures, as detailed in Rule 71 of the Society’s regulations, have been formally engaged, and as a result, it would be inappropriate for the Society to offer comment on this matter at this time.

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“This is standard procedure, in order to allow a fair hearing for those against whom complaints have been made. The Union’s Rules are available online for any member who wishes to read them.”

The hearing primarily concerns alleged breaches of Rule 71(a)(i)(30) – which prohibits “conduct intended to disrupt debates or other meetings of the society”.

Five members are under investigation, and the hearing will take place on Saturday.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ann Coulter is clever and amusing. She debunks liberal fascists. She also criticises Trump. Liberals hate her because THEY are the intolerant fascists. Not her ! She took on C4 News when they tried to paint her as an extremist. But the rich privileged of Oxford just love parading theur consciences before going off to their privileged futures !

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