London School of Economics apologises for targeting atheist students

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The London School of Economics (LSE) has today issued a long-awaited apology to students Chris Moos and Abhishek Phandis, representatives of the student Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (LSEASH), who wore t-shirts featuring the popular Jesus and Mo cartoon at the SU Freshers’ Fair on 3 October, and who were asked to cover their t-shirts or face removal from the Fair.

The incident, covered first by TrendingCentral.com at the time, was described as an “effective blasphemy law”, and said to be indicative of a wider trend around various university campuses across the country, wherein minorities are singled out and targeted under the guise of “political correctness”.

The LSE has published a statement (below), including an apology for the disproportionate action and confirming that the students in question did no wrong. The British Humanist Association (BHA) and National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Students Societies (AHS), of which the LSEASH is a member, have both welcomed the LSE’s statement.

Professor Calhoun of the LSE wrote to the students involved ‘acknowledging that, with hindsight, the wearing of the t-shirts on this occasion did not amount to harassment or contravene the law or LSE policies,’ and he also said, ‘LSE takes its duty to promote free speech very seriously, and as such, will discuss and learn from the issues raised by recent events.’

continue to source article at trendingcentral.com

26 COMMENTS

  1. I knew it! What a bunch of spineless tossers the LSE admin. were on this. Glad they seem to have developed a spine, at last.

    The last time this was on RDFRS, I wrote this:

    Unfuckingbelievable!
    I’d like to see or hear what exactly the LSE’s Legal and Compliance Team and Head of Security based their legal opinion on: what Student Union rule or regulation, as well as which section and sub-section, did they rely on; what law, if any, of England and Wales did they base their opinion on?

    Apparently, given their apology, the LSE was simply and obsequiously pandering to the nutters. Well done to Chris Moos and Abhishek Phandis, the atheist students, and their supporters for standing up to this obscene back-bending by the LSE, and for asserting their right to freedom of expression.

    • In reply to #1 by RDfan:

      I knew it! What a bunch of spineless tossers the LSE admin. were on this. Glad they seem to have developed a spine, at last.

      The last time this was on RDFRS, I wrote this:

      Unfuckingbelievable!
      I’d like to see or hear what exactly the LSE’s Legal and Compliance Team and Head of Security based their…

      Well, I don’t think this shows they have developed a spine. Ironically, quite the contrary. The only reason they gave this apology is because they received so much criticism and negative media coverage.

    • In reply to #1 by RDfan:

      Not really, that I can see. They’ve taken the path of least resistance in each case– when they were hassled by the Union (or whoever it was exactly), and when there was a general backlash to that action.

      In reply to #3 by Maki:

      Sorry, what? He said “multiculturalism has failed” ages ago. He’s wrong, but obviously he will try to make political hay out of this, as will the Mail, EDF, BNP, Tories, et al. It’s great cover for appealing to racists, unfortunately.

  2. How on earth can they say the ‘LSE takes its duty to promote free speech very seriously, after that behaviour. What they mean is they have been shown to be a bunch of cunts and are now going to start taking free speech seriously. They got caught

  3. That does not look like a real apology to me. Breaking it down.
    “the wearing of the t-shirts on this occasion did not amount to harassment or contravene the law or LSE policies.”
    So on this occasion when we were caught out and it brought media attention on us we were wrong, but if we can get away with it in future we will try and do so.

    “Members of staff acted in good faith and sought to manage the competing interests of complainant students and yourselves in a way that they considered to be in the best interests of all parties on the days in question.”
    We don’t want to spend any time or resources in taking disciplinary or retraining action with these staff, and are trying to cover our ass against legal action being taken against us.

    “LSE and the LSE SU have already put on record concern over the nature of some of the social media debate on this matter in the past, which has been highly personalised. It is hoped that this will not be repeated.”
    You should not have gone public with this as it was embarrassing for us. We will expel you from the school at some point when the media attention has died down and we can create some trumped up charges, we will use these “concerns”, out of context as part of our excuse.

    “LSE takes its duty to promote free speech very seriously, and as such, will discuss and learn from the issues raised by recent events.”
    This is standard throw away line to try and get the media to shut up and go away, we are of course very repentant and will not let this happen again.

  4. A snivelling wretch of an apology, mealy mouthed and stuffed with insincere platitudes. We all know the score here, the god botherers kicked up a fuss to get the students kicked out knowing full well that the LSE would meekly comply.

  5. The truth is – the LSE were not in the slightest bothered whether these T-shirt offended worshippers of the god called “the Lord” but whether they upset the worshippers of the god called “Allah”. Spineless hypocrites of the first order.

  6. Another score on the door for the Streisand Effect. Freshers who might have walked past the atheist stand and thought “hmm, yeah, whaddever” have now had an entire term of atheism at the LSE being centre stage and commanding everybody’s attention. And a few more of this year’s intake might be tempted to give the society the time of day, if only for standing up to the bullies.

    The more “they” try to persecute “us”, the more they shoot themselves in the foot.

    Excellent!

  7. A Christmas Limerick to cheer you all up:

    Once long ago was an illusion:
    A child was born amist much confusion
    - For His mother’s hymen was spared
    “I’m sent from On High!” he delcared
    For clarity see “The God Dellusion”

  8. Read the article by Abhishek Phadnis, one of the students involved, It’s beauifully written and argued. If this is the first appearance of this young man on the national stage we can say that ‘a star is born’. He has the gift and the guts to be a leading voice in political and secular causes in the country.

  9. A heavily qualified “apology”.

    But, oh come on now, one must not under any circumstances criticize religion.

    Slightly off this particular incident but I think nonetheless related, seventeen agencies have been found to have failed sexually abused children in Rochdale over a number of years, while they were being groomed by a gang of paedophiles, all of whom are of Asian origin; whether or not any or all of them are Muslims I don’t know, but if they are, what are the chances that the agencies were afraid to work proactively for that very reason.

    I realize that I’m on thin ice in even making the suggestion, but this is the place more than any other I know where you are free, or even expected, to stick your neck out; and if I have indeed put my head on the block I think I can rely on the moderators to chop it off if they see fit.

    • In reply to #11 by Stafford Gordon:

      all of whom are of Asian origin;

      So it fine and dandy to scapegoat a whole continent, but it is intolerant to criticize a particular faith? “Asian Origin” – what exactly does that mean?

      • In reply to #14 by soulreaver:

        So it fine and dandy to scapegoat a whole continent, but it is intolerant to criticize a particular faith? “Asian Origin” – what exactly does that mean?

        From what I’ve read on a multitude of sites, in the British context it is almost always PC Speak for Pakistani, especially when trying to whitewash Islamic crimes such as religiously justified rape, honor killing & FGM.

        • In reply to #17 by Negasta:

          In reply to #14 by soulreaver:

          So it fine and dandy to scapegoat a whole continent, but it is intolerant to criticize a particular faith? “Asian Origin” – what exactly does that mean?

          From what I’ve read on a multitude of sites, in the British context it is almost always PC Speak for Pakistani, es…

          Actually it refers to people who have come from areas controlled by the British Empire in the region as these form the largest group of immigrants in Britain. Thus you’re looking at an assortment of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Burmese and Sri Lankans.
          That group will include muslims, hindus and buddhists.

      • In reply to #14 by soulreaver:

        In reply to #11 by Stafford Gordon:all of whom are of Asian origin;So it fine and dandy to scapegoat a whole continent, but it is intolerant to criticize a particular faith? “Asian Origin” – what exactly does that mean?

        There’s a large community of British born people of Asian descent in Rochdale, as there is and has been for a long time in Bradford; indeed one of the first Mosques in Britain was built circa 1890 in Woking, Surrey.

        We would go as youngsters to ceremonies there to eat the delicious food! But back then there was no sign of tension, everyone got along just fine.

        But that was then…

        My criticism is not of an individual’s descent, that would be absurd, but of the human construct organized religion, and what it can and often does do to a persons ability to think for themselves.

        • In reply to #18 by Stafford Gordon:

          In reply to #14 by soulreaver:

          In reply to #11 by Stafford Gordon:all of whom are of Asian origin;So it fine and dandy to scapegoat a whole continent, but it is intolerant to criticize a particular faith? “Asian Origin” – what exactly does that mean?

          There’s a large community of British born peopl…

          It was more of a rhetorical question on the absurdity of British media (BBC and Guardian in particular) in using the term Asian. Half of world’s population live in Asia, so statistically half of all the crimes have to be committed by Asians. I agree with you on the notion that, if a perp identifies himself or herself by their faith and uses it to escape or conceal crime, the faith has to be named.

    • In reply to #11 by Stafford Gordon:

      That sounds like they are over-compensating out of a fear of what they think the law/policy is rather than what it actually is. I’ve seen it with health and safety rules and laws. “Loony lefties” don’t really exist like they did in the 1970s. There are a few, but they are very marginal. Misunderstandings based on right-wing exaggeration and propaganda, e.g. from the right-wing press, seem far more common.

      I’d note that Rochdale, going by the council election results, is not a solid Labour area. It seems to oscillate between NOC and Labour and occasionally the other two parties. So it’s not at all safe assumption that the people involved are lefties (or that they’re not, of course). However, the way to correct bad left-wing ideas is not with bad right-wing ideas. It is with better ideas and better ways of thinking and reasoning.

      In reply to #12 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

      It’s very interesting to hear of your experience. It’s sad when socialism becomes degenerate and purity driven in this way. The mistake people make is to think that it is necessarily like that, as if it’s drawn from a Platonic ideal, rather than being a set of mental, literary, societal, etc technologies (which may need refinement to be superior to existing techniques, like any other technology).

      What kind of campaigns have you seen driven by “reactionary-socialist” ideas in universities? I’ve only seen it in Private Eye’s Dave Spart bit and documentaries about the 70s and 80s, I’m afraid. The closest I’ve seen are people who get so upset about the Palestinian situation they become a bit distracted from their duties as union representatives and introduce wordy internationalist motions, etc, but the one I’m thinking of was slapped down and marginalised after a while as people were mostly more interested in immediate practical matters (and some about being accused of being anti-Semitic or worse Muslim-sympathisers).

      In reply to #17 by Negasta:

      In reply to #14 by soulreaver:

      Or more realistically, it’s used (inaccurately) to refer to Indians and Pakistanis collectively.
      EDIT: More specifically, what was said In #24 by Mr Greene.

  10. Hi Stafford,

    Slightly off this particular incident … seventeen agencies have been found to have failed sexually abused children … being groomed by a gang of paedophiles, all of whom are of Asian origin …

    Not really. You’re basically saying that these are two sets of facts that, together, may indicate something.

    I realize that I’m on thin ice in even making the suggestion … what are the chances that the agencies were afraid to work proactively for that very reason [over ethnic sensibilities].

    It doesn’t seem thin to me.

    For one thing, these incidents are not isolated. For another thing, some of us have long suspected that social services in Britain are run by a political clique that is connected to socialist politics. The socialist dogma seems pretty obvious, and this is clearly having an adverse effect on quality thinking about social issues – particularly on social ‘science’, which is anything but. This is one of the reasons that social services are needed – it’s failures are legion, constant and therefore self-fulfilling and self-sustaining.

    It would be wholly wrong to lay social problems at the door of social workers alone. It would also be something of a stretch to deny that all the root causes of social problems pointed out by social workers and social ‘scientists’, such as sociologists, are not accurate. Inequality of access to opportunity, lack of social mobility and a lack of political commitment to progressive taxation all contribute just as social workers have always said.

    Nevertheless, the social workers that I have met – and having worked for a local authority, charities and a social-housing group, I’ve met more than my fair share – are among the most dogmatic I have encountered. Seriously; most, if not all, would give your local Catholic Priest a good run for his money.

    When it comes to education, and tertiary education in particular, some of those same knee-jerk, socialist-reactionary, personal subjective opinions-stated-as-fact are clearly visible.

    You called this apology “heavily qualified”. I have to agree. It’s as plain as day that the University Administration have only apologised under duress – though where that pressure comes from is anybody’s guess.

    When it comes to social workers I am sorry to report that I have, on several ocassions, wondered if the World might not be better off without them.

    I wonder what that says about the University hierarchy at the LSE?

    Peace.

    • In reply to #12 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

      Nevertheless, the social workers that I have met – and having worked for a local authority, charities and a social-housing group, I’ve met more than my fair share – are among the most dogmatic I have encountered. Seriously; most, if not all, would give your local Catholic Priest a good run for his money.

      I can’t disagree. Somebody on phyrangula was banned for saying that most Muslims want gay people dead. And he was referring to not western countries. They counter argument was that if he didn’t speak with every Muslim on earth then he can’t claim that most of them want to do x or y. They aren’t any better then priests that pretend that there is no problem with pedophilia in Catholic Church, and call it attack on the church, just like Politically correct call statistical polling from respectable pooling agency racism.

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