The Aberdeen Life Ethics Society had announced the rejection of its application Oct. 19, saying, "We were rejected because the Student Council passed a policy in November 2017 declaring AUSA to be 'pro-choice' and pledging to 'no-platform' any society that opposes abortion. Since our proposed society is unashamedly pro-life, we have been banned from affiliating."
The pro-life group said that the pro-choice policy is "being used as political cover to ban student speech on campus, it also treats the student body as undivided on the issue of abortion."
"Censorship is a growing epidemic on many university campuses in this country, and AUSA has now chosen to be the latest in a long line of students' associations which selectively repress the freedom of speech of certain students and societies," Aberdeen Life Ethics Society wrote on its Facebook page. "AUSA's willingness to censor dissenting speech, regardless of the fact that such speech is protected by UK and EU laws, should be chilling to any fair-minded student who believes that the free exchange of ideas is vital to a university community."
The pro-lifers noted that Ausa "prides itself on being radically tolerant, but its decision to block the formation of a minority-view society only serves to illuminate the lopsided nature of how tolerance is actually practised on our campus … for a students' association which touts its supposed liberality, this outcome is an illiberal travesty."
Ausa has cited its pro-choice policy, adopted in November 2017, as the basis for its decision. The policy says, in part, that "Ausa should oppose the unreasonable display of pro-life material within campus and at Ausa events."
Lawson Ogubie, Ausa president, said that "students are encouraged to challenge or submit policy changes as is their democratic right as members of our students' association."