Preston UKIP in dispute with UCLan over student's halal meat comments

A university student was banned from lectures after he made “offensive and inappropriate” comments about halal meat and the ‘Islamisation of the UK’.

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) building
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) building

But members of UKIP have urged the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to drop the “tyrannical ruling” and uphold the values of free speech.

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During a seminar about food standards Sebastian Walsh, who is from Burnley but lives in Wigan , had made critical comments about halal meat and of the alleged Islamisation of the UK.

Sebastian has now been suspended from UCLan until the end of the academic year unless he takes part in a ‘diversity training course’.

A UCLan spokesman said: “A number of official complaints were made by students regarding a series of offensive and inappropriate comments made by Sebastian Walsh during lectures and seminars.

“We cannot divulge the actual comments made by Sebastian as they formed part of a confidential investigation. However, they clearly breached a number of the university’s conduct regulations, including those relating to harassment and bringing the university into disrepute.

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“In line with our official procedures, an investigation ensued, and a disciplinary hearing took place. The student has been temporarily suspended for the remainder of the academic year and is aware that on the successful completion of a diversity training course, he will be able to resume his studies.”

But Preston’s UKIP party has written to deputy vice-chancellors Lynne Livesey and Liz Bromley at UCLan asking them to allow Sebastian back to class based on the right to freedom of speech.

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Preston UKIP treasurer Neil Graham said: “Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are essential to liberty and essential to learning. They are fundamental to democracy itself.

"It doesn’t matter whether Mr Walsh’s views are correct or not: he has the right to express them. The university is denying him his freedom and is now denying him his right to an education.

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"This authoritarianism is entirely out of place in a free society. Members were truly shocked to hear of Mr Walsh’s experience.

"We believe that someone has to make a stand so we urge the university to abandon this tyrannical ruling and to revise its policies to prevent further injustice."