An open letter regarding Debating Society's event
This month Debating Society are rumoured to have confirmed the attendance of Katie Hopkins for a society event, which we are wholly against, as it breaches the Diversity and Equality Policy of the SU, and fosters an unsafe environment for our staff and students, especially ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Katie Hopkins has made her support for white far right extremism publicly known through actions and words which have to be condemned. In 2017 she spent time with a group called Defend Europe, connected to Generation Identity. By doing so she advocated for using gunboats to violently stop migrants from reaching our shores while showing support for an extremist group with connections to the Christchurch shooter. She has also lost her position at LBC due to remarks concerning the Manchester Bombing and has made classist remarks on This Morning. This shows she not only stands against multiculturalism, but actually holds extremist Islamophobic views. We do not believe that people like Katie Hopkins should be given a platform, as extremist views cannot be openly debated. We do not feel that there is anything to be gained at all from having such an individual speak, other than providing a safe space for other intolerant views to gather and organise.
We do believe discussion of such ideas are important, but on a personal level, and to encourage her presence here would not only provide a springboard for proliferation of far-right ideology on campus, but also create an intensely hostile environment for vulnerable groups.
Oftentimes, blatantly untrue phrases are repeated to vulnerable and easily influenced individuals until they are regarded as the truth. Platforming such individuals thus cannot function, because honesty and good faith is not guaranteed; rather bad faith, fallacies and dishonesty are. Far-right populism thrives on publicity; not on truth value. The most dangerous thing we can do is to allow this ideology to become normal. In order to safeguard our students and staff, we believe it is important to deny Katie Hopkins a platform. We already know what she believes, and we are under no obligation to participate in her hateful ideology as a University.
We ask that Debating Society withdraw their invitation for Katie Hopkins to speak at Royal Holloway.
Women of Colour Collective
SciFi and Fantasy Society
Please sign our letter if you agree.
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