SWP motion shows importance of consistency

It has been reported this week that the Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) has withheld a motion to ban the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) from holding events and advertising on campus after an SWP legal threat.

Sponsored by the university’s Feminist Society, the motion also intends to prevent the spread of the SWP by refusing affiliation to SWP student front-groups.

The SWP was shown to be deeply misogynistic after the negligent handlings of rape accusations against a senior party figure which occurred last year.

Informal investigations by the party into the accusations led to their dismissal, while a hearing in front of the Central Committee allegedly saw hostile and personal questioning which left the complainant feeling further harassed and shamed.

As a result, the SWP internal trial concluded with the exoneration of the accused, and the complainant claiming she was warned to stay quiet about her alleged rape.

If passed, the EUSA motion against the SWP would create a precedent showing that groups responsible for rape apologism and victim blaming will not be tolerated on campus.

Supporters of the motion also claim that banning the SWP is necessary under EUSA’s safe space policy, as well as its commitment to “End Rape Culture and Lad Banter on Campus”.

While this is commendable and should be welcomed, it does highlight a clear hypocrisy in EUSA’s selective enforcement of the protection of women’s rights and its own safe space policy.

Earlier this year, members voted against a motion calling for the university to prohibit directed segregation in union buildings or at union events.

This motion, put forth by the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society, was voted against heavily after opposing speeches implied that the motion had racist and Islamophobic intentions.

For a union to selectively apply safe-space policies in this way is unacceptable, and de-legitimises the very idea of these policies.

Eleanor Brayne-Whyatt, the student who submitted the SWP motion has stated:

“…any movement…that stamps all over women’s rights for the furthering of some ‘bigger cause’ will not be accepted”.

Students Rights would hope that these ideals would extend to all those that express misogynistic views, including groups which validate such views through religious belief.

Until such a policy applies indiscriminately across campus, loopholes will exist through which the intolerant will be able to find a platform.

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