Journalism student Vincent Wood quoted former City University student Mahatma Gandhi when he spoke in favour of repealing a ban on right-wing tabloids at the university.
Last Thursday a general meeting of the student’s union at the university, which has a large journalism department, voted in favour of repealing a ban on The Sun, Express and Mail.
Last November, the Students’ Union passed a motion stating that the titles had no place on campus because of their coverage of issues around Islam and immigration.
Wood, who has a serious stammer, delivered his speech whilst listening to music on headphones because he can speak fluently if he cannot hear himself.
Here is his speech in full:
“After Gandhi left our university 125 years ago he set up a newspaper. He believed that journalists had a vital duty to truth-telling and that no one should ever have the power to ban journalism, even if it was bad. He wrote that ‘The useful and the useless must, like good and evil go on together, and man must make his choice.’
“Banning working class tabloids at City isn’t going to help anyone fight prejudice. Trump and Brexit should teach us that hiding in our bubbles doesn’t make statements you disagree with go away.
“And the damage to our journalism department isn’t going to help City students go out in the world and affect real change in papers that might need it. If you want things to get better you have to fight for it.
“It’s frankly cruel that during the migrant crisis, while people die fleeing persecution, others lucky enough to study at a world class university turn their backs on a debate which influences their lives.
“The tabloid ban doesn’t work, damages the integrity of our university and forces the Union to work against students for the first time in its history. That is why we are asking you to vote to repeal the ban, defend freedom of the press and challenge prejudice in all media through education not silence.”
The motion was passed with an overwhelming vote in favour.