Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Fatuous, or what

The not-quite-so-recent furore in Exeter University (and a few other places) surrounding the evangelical Christian Union's membership of the Student Union, use of facilities, etc, is not a simple matter. There are serious questions that need to be asked about 'the' CU's relationship to other 'Christian' societies on campus. Plenty of intelligent-sounding bloggers have discussed the matter in way that does not support the actions of the CU.

However, the question of a name, and of cordial relations with Methsocs, Cathsocs, Orthodox, etc. is quite separate from the issue of whether or not the society (in this case an evangelical group) can control access to its membership or leadership in any way. It seems pretty clear to me that it ought to be able to. So I signed a petition on the Downing Street website. And this is what the government had to say about it.

Legitimate faith groups on university campuses should be affiliated with the relevant students' union provided they are operating within the law and the students' union framework. Students' unions should be inclusive and generally require all affiliated bodies to be open to any student.

The Education Act 1994 requires university governing bodies to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the student union operates in a fair and democratic manner - and they are expected to do so in cases involving faith groups or any others.

No, really, that's all they had to say about it. Glad that's cleared things up...