Lincoln University’s Conservative Society has had control of its social media taken away by the Student’s Union. Tory students were accused of bringing the University’s reputation into disrepute by tweeting about the SU’s poor track record for free speech. How ironic.
The society has announced a two month break from Twitter, and its Facebook page is no longer available. Lincoln MP Karl McCartney called the response by the Union “intolerant, illiberal and totalitarian,” and said that this move marks “another chapter in their knee-jerk desire to stifle debate, which revealed itself as they began ‘no platforming’ people they don’t like – including those who are democratically elected”.
In February last year, Lincoln Student’s Union banned the social media app Yik Yak, due to it causing “much distress to a number of University of Lincoln students”. This prompted the app to be made unavailable on campus Wi-Fi.
Lincoln Students’ Union has previously said it was “proud to protect the rights of all individuals to express their opinions, ideas and concerns”.
From a public relations standpoint, suppressing the Facebook page to avoid the spread of ‘disreputable’ data has, instead of silencing the discussion, prompted a media response. This will inevitably bring about a far wider discussion on this topic than merely leaving the group alone would have done.