Students' union bans police candidate from session over his UKIP membership
THE University of Derby's Students' Union has banned one of the candidates vying to be voted in as the county's first Police and Crime Commissioner.
The organisation told David Gale yesterday morning that he would not be welcomed at a Q&A session for candidates, which took place at 2pm in the afternoon.
In a series of e-mails sent to Mr Gale by the union, he was told he would not be allowed to attend because it had "a no platform policy for UKIP", of which Mr Gale is a member.
The event saw the other three candidates, Rod Hutton, Simon Spencer and Alan Charles, discuss crime matters with students.
HANDMADE FURNITURE , BESPOKE SOFAS , CHAIRS AND CORNERGROUPS , INTEREST FREE UPTO 2 YEARS .
Terms: £500 - £1500 upto 12 months interest free - -Over£1500 upto 2 years interest free . 10 % deposit required .
Contact: 01332 419898
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
The students' union said it had originally invited Mr Gale to speak but he said he may not be able to attend due to other commitments.
Then, yesterday morning, he was sent a policy document which said: "The University of Derby Students' Union standing orders state clearly in that any member of the union may complain to the union president about an individual(s) who they believe to be a member of a group with racist, fascist or extremist views.
"We received several student complaints around UKIP policies on immigration that included repealing the 1998 Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
"The decision was taken by the Students' Union executive to place UKIP on our no platform list in line with our values and legal documentation.
"We at the University of Derby Students' Union are proud supporters of No Platform and we uphold the rights of our students to feel safe while studying on campus.
"Part of this is us refusing to share a platform with groups holding extremist views."
Mr Gale did not want to comment directly about the matter but the decision brought wrath from the head of UKIP nationally.
Nigel Farage MEP said: "It is absurd that this student union feels it has the right to ban a serious national political party from its discussions.
"It is frightening that a Derby student body is so frightened of free speech and public opinion."
The public go to the polls on Thursday to vote in the county's first commissioner.
Whoever wins the race will replace the existing Police Authority and have the power to set the force budget.
Derek Clark, UKIP member of the European Parliament for Derbyshire, said: "I thought universities were supposed to welcome all points of view and support freedom and democracy? I would urge the students' union to look again at their policy as a matter of urgency."
A University of Derby Students' Union spokesman confirmed union officials had decided a platform could not be offered to a UKIP candidate because it was not felt that UKIP political views were in line with the union's values.
He added: "Having been made aware of Mr Gale's concerns regarding this policy, the UDSU will review its policies and procedures in this area, to further clarify its position."