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From: The Socialist issue 938, 1 March 2017: Build a movement to save our NHS

Search site for keywords: York - University - Far-right - Student - Protest - Students - Far right - EDL

York University: socialists prevent far-right hate speech

Countering the EDL in Sheffield, 1st June 2013, photo A Tice

Countering the EDL in Sheffield, 1st June 2013, photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Katie Smith, University of York Student Socialists chair

In December 2016 University of York Student Socialists first became aware of a campus society wishing to host Tommy Robinson - ex-EDL member and current leader of the Islamophobic organisation Pegida in Britain.

Immediately a campaign group was created on social media platforms and the society urged fellow York students to boycott Robinson's guest lecture on "free speech" which would undoubtedly turn into something far more sinister.

I met with members of campus security staff, following releasing a statement to the Huffington Post regarding plans for a protest on campus. The university was willing to allow us to protest and provide staff to ensure our safety from Robinson and his supporters. But after this meeting Robinson's invitation to speak at the university was withdrawn as the original society which suggested hosting him had pulled out.

This event is an example of why it's always important to contest the presence of the far right: especially when they threaten to spread hate on university campuses. International Women's Day is about standing up for all women of all backgrounds, and despite Robinson's supporters going on to harass me on Twitter, this will always be a victory I am immensely proud of.

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