Does AUSA believe in freedom of speech?

Amy Maas at Stuff reports:

An anti-abortion club at Auckland University may be disaffiliated after students complained about being harassed by its members.

Auckland University Student Association president Arena Williams has called for a special general meeting next month, which could see ProLife Auckland being barred from associating itself with the university.

An announcement for the meeting said the association would consider whether the “Prolife Club be disaffiliated for propagating harmful misinformation [sic]”.

“Recently we’ve received complaints from students after [ProLife Auckland] handed out fliers at the campus,” said Williams.

“On the fliers there was information which some felt was pressuring them into making different decisions than they normally would.”

The “Right to Know” flier carries the slogan: “Hands up if you’ve heard this before: ‘Abortion is a safe, simple medical procedure’.”

Williams said it was “quite uncommon” for clubs to be disaffiliated, but said ProLife wasn’t being treated unfairly.

“The complaints we received were serious because it was about spreading information which could be harmful to student health.

“They were using something which was seen to skew peoples’ views and had included information that had no medical grounds.”

It is worth recalling that AUSA, while nominally voluntary, gets funded by all students through the university.

If handing out pamphlets that may skew people’s views is a reason for disaffiliation, then I can only presume Princes St Labour and Alfred St National are not affiliated? And including information not backed up by science must mean the Greens are a goner.

Williams said it was not appropriate for her to say how the distributed information was harmful.

Really? You’re proposing to kick them out, and won’t say how?

 “I think the issue is serious because the people who complained were being affronted.

“Some of the people they were handing out fliers to had already been through the horrible experience of having an abortion, so it’s very, very concerning.”

I am sure it is unpleasant. But freedom of speech is about defending unpopular and unpleasant speech.  Universities of all places should respect that.

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