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Peter Hitchens refuses to reschedule talk with UPSU

On 6 February we asked journalist Peter Hitchens to reschedule his visit to the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union (UPSU). Contrary to inaccurate claims in the media, we did not cancel the talk.

Following feedback from students, and in light of some of Peter Hitchens’ previously published views, the Students’ Union Leadership decided that it would be unsuitable to hold the event during LGBT+ history month.

Peter Hitchens has been invited to provide alternative dates in three separate emails on the 6th and 7th February, reminded by our social media accounts, and asked to reschedule his visit to Portsmouth live on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme (7th February).

Consistently Peter has not provided dates and has been very clear on his blog and Twitter accounts that he does not wish to re-engage with the Students’ Union directly.

Mr Hitchens has no obligation to accept our invitation but it is important that it is made clear the Students’ Union wants him to have the opportunity to speak to students. Any decision not to come to speak to University of Portsmouth students is Mr Hitchens’ and Mr Hitchens’ alone.

Violet Karapaseva, Students’ Union President, said “It’s disappointing that Mr Hitchens has not rescheduled his speech for those University of Portsmouth students who wish to hear his opinions and encourage debate.”

The University of Portsmouth Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, said “We are delighted that the Students’ Union has invited Peter Hitchens to talk to students. It is unfortunate that the timing of the original date required a postponement. We understand why the Students’ Union felt the need to re-arrange the event and support the decision to re-arrange.”

“As the postponement has attracted a lot of attention Peter Hitchens can be sure that the rescheduled event will draw a large and interested crowd. We would welcome him to the University and hope he will come. It would be disappointing if students were denied the chance to hear Mr Hitchens’ views.”

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