It is the second time that Sidney has hosted the groupNoah Froud

Sidney Sussex College has been criticised after this week hosting a conference run by ‘Christian Concern’, a pressure group which has been accused of being Islamophobic and homophobic. It is the second time the group have been hosted at the college.

The college hosted ‘The Wilberforce Academy’, an annual week-long, residential course that ‘Christian Concern’ runs for young people. The group claim that the academy, usually held at Oxford University, hosts “top speakers who train and equip the invited students on what it means to proclaim Christ in public life.”

According to a petition started by the Sidney Sussex College Student Union (SSCSU) LGBTQ+, Women's, Welfare and BME Officers, senior members of Christian Concern have been invited to dine in college after the conference.

They include Andrea Minichiello Williams, the organisation’s founder who in 2013 argued that the diver Tom Daley was gay because his father had died, and Tom Dieppe, the group's Director of Islamic Affairs.

In a statement released earlier today, CUSU said that “Groups like this threaten the safety of Cambridge’s LGBT+ community, promoting homophobia and the idea that homosexuality is a ‘disease’ that can be ‘cured’.


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“We believe that allowing this group at the University of Cambridge sends a harmful message to current and future staff and students. We condemn the beliefs of this group and their accommodation by Sidney Sussex college. If any student is impacted by this news, please feel free to email or message the CUSU LGBT+ FB page.”

Christian Concern state that they “have a passion to see the United Kingdom return to the Christian faith”. Among other issues, the group campaign against abortion, same-sex marriage, and for Christian education.

In the petition, the SSCSU officers state that “We are saddened that college has provided platform to this group. Sidney is fortunate in being home to such a diverse cohort of students, yet our LGBTQ+ and minority community have undeniably been failed on this occasion. It is the duty of college to protect its students from hate speech and other groups which seek to threaten their autonomy as individuals.”

Max Beber, Senior Tutor at Sidney Sussex,  and Fran Jenkins, SSCSU President, have been contacted for comment