A student suspended from Preston’s university for comments made about halal meat has been ordered to undertake a ‘diversity training course’.Advertisement
19-year-old Sebastian Walsh was told he could not return to the University of Central Lancashire during this academic year.
Walsh has received the backing of the Preston UKIP branch who say freedom of speech has been threatened.
UCLan took the action after a number of complaints about language used by Walsh during his social work studies.
Walsh made comments about halal meat and immigration during debates about the NHS and fast-food chains.
The student, from Wigan, told the Mirror he felt victimised by the university.
Treasurer Neil Graham has written to the deputy vice-chancellors Lynne Livesey and Liz Bromley.
He said: “Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are essential to liberty and essential to learning.
“They are fundamental to democracy itself. It doesn’t matter whether Mr Walsh’s views are correct or not: he has the right to express them. The university is denying him his freedom and is now denying him his right to an education.
“This authoritarianism is entirely out of place in a free society. Members were truly shocked to hear of Mr Walsh’s experience. We believe that someone has to make a stand so we urge the university to abandon this tyrannical ruling and to revise its policies to prevent further injustice.”
A spokesman for the university said: “UCLan is proud to host a campus community comprised of many cultures, faiths, nationalities and beliefs.
“It values this rich diversity and takes seriously its responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all.
“The University promotes lawful, open debate, the discussion of varying views and academic freedom and has in place robust procedures to ensure this can take place.
“In this case, a number of official complaints were made by students regarding a series of offensive and inappropriate comments made by Sebastian Walsh during lectures and seminars.
“We cannot divulge the actual comments made by Sebastian as they formed part of a confidential investigation.
“However, they clearly breached a number of the University’s conduct regulations, including those relating to harassment and bringing the University into disrepute.
“In line with our official procedures, an investigation ensued, and a disciplinary hearing took place.
“The student has been temporarily suspended for the remainder of the academic year and is aware that on the successful completion of a diversity training course, he will be able to resume his studies.”