The Big Talk

Guest speaker event postponed

The Students’ Union has received a Have Your Say idea and multiple views from students, through a variety of channels, expressing concerns over the published views of an invited speaker as part of the Union’s Big Talks programme.

The Students’ Union has also received a Have Your Say idea and heard from students who have raised concerns that the lawful right of Freedom of Speech is protected at the University of Portsmouth and wish the Union to ensure the event continues.

Peter Hitchens, a Sunday Mail columnist, was due to speak at the Students’ Union on the 12th February about a variety of topics. However it has since been highlighted that the published views of Peter Hitchens are not necessarily aligned with the Students’ Union’s vibrant celebration of the LGBT+ community this month.

Speaking on behalf of the Students’ Union, Violet Karapaseva, Union President, has said that “we are committed to ensuring freedom of speech on the University of Portsmouth campus, however recognise that the timing of the scheduled event and the speaker’s previously published views do not align with our current celebration of the LGBT+ community.”

The Students’ Union has made the decision to postpone the scheduled talk to a later date.

The Have Your Say ideas will be discussed and considered by the Union Actioning Body - a group of student representatives covering a broad spectrum of the student body.

The Students’ Union wish to make it clear that there is no suggestion or inference that the talk and debate scheduled for the 12th February was aligned to any views previously published by Peter Hitchens or the LGBT+ community. The Union welcomes guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds and a variety of views to encourage strong debate and ensure freedom of speech on campus.

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