Christian Union in Exeter Threatens Legal Action After Suspension

Christian students at Exeter University are reportedly threatening legal action against the Student Guild and Exeter University for not supporting their rights as Christians for freedom of speech, freedom of belief and association, the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) has told Christian Today.

The Christian Union has operated at Exeter University for 50 years now, but has allegedly been temporarily suspended from the official list of student societies on campus, and had its student bank accounts frozen, as well as being banned from free use of Student Guild premises, or advertising events within Guild facilities.

The reason given for the temporary suspension has been because the Student Guild claims the CU constitution and activities do not conform to its Equal Opportunities Policies, which have only recently been introduced, explains the UCCF.

Following detailed legal advice, this Monday 13 November, a representative of the Christian Union delivered a Letter before Action to the Guild, and to the University's Registrar, on behalf of the whole Christian Union.

The letter advised that proceedings would commence without further notice within 14 days unless the Exeter Christian Union was fully re-instated as a student society by the Guild with full rights and was allowed to call itself the Christian Union.

The CU has advised that their action will be taken under the Human Rights Act 1998, and the Education (No.2) Act 1986.

Emma Brewster CU worker at Exeter University said: "This is a fundamental issue of freedom of speech and of common sense. Legal action is the last thing we want to take, and we certainly don't relish it, but we are fully prepared to stand our ground for truth and freedom.

"We want to be able to study in a university that allows students - of all faiths and of none - to freely express their views from whatever stance they might take, be able to disagree with one another, and yet to co-exist alongside one another. Surely that is a truly democratic society?

"The CU here, as at almost every university in the UK, holds the orthodox Christian views which churches of all denominations have also held for 2,000 years. In 50 years, this is the first complaint about our name and what we stand for.

"The action currently taken by the Guild does nothing to enhance the reputation of Exeter University, or its students to prospective employers, nor does it demonstrate that this university seeks to encourage all its students to freely develop their ideas, thoughts, values and beliefs."