On monday the 27th of January, a Social Clubs Committee meeting was held, to decide -amongst other issues- on whether or not to allow the formation of a Justice for Palestine Society (JPS). This motion was not passed.
The JPS had presented all the necessary documentation to the Union: namely a constitution that agreed with Union regulation and a list of signatures of students. So why was the society not allowed to exist? Many points were raised, chiefly
- that the society's Aims and Objectives clashed with those of other societies, namely Amnesty International and Islamic soc.
- that the society was going to be a risk to the students of Imperial College (they would obviously be diverting the stationary funds from the Union to build lethal paper-suicide-bombers).
- that the society had political aims (unlike Conservative and Labour soc, I suppose...)
- that the creation of such a society would start a cascade of claims from other potential societies (e.g. a Kashmir society)
Of these objections, only the first has any relevance to discussion by the SCC, and even that is a flawed objection as both Amnesty and Islamic soc were present and contradicted the alleged clash in objectives.
The real reasons why JSP was vetoed are the personal beliefs of the people present at that SCC meeting, personal beliefs that have nothing to do with whether or not a group of students has the right to congregate to promote their ideals. As long as a society abides by Union regulations, guarantees that anyone will be granted admission, keeps their activities transparent and does not break the Law, who has the right to refuse them existence? And even if it does break any of the above conditions, does the SCC have the right to act as a judge of student needs?
In my opinion, a society which is going to debate and promote their ideas - whether these ideas might be the liberation of Palestine or the abolition of abortion or the rights of Patagonian penguins - must be given the right to exist as long as a sufficient part of the student body supports it. We live in a world of violent political events: Imperial with its international character mirrors this world, how can we pretend to shut out these events by just stifling their voices?