Sidgwick Site, where a Justice for Men and Boys event is set to be heldLouis Ashworth

CUSU Council unanimously passed a motion last night to lobby the University to undertake a review of its safeguarding policy on room bookings by external organisations, and to oppose the decision to allow anti-feminist group Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB) to hold an event on departmental university premises.

The motion mandates elected CUSU sabbatical officers to “lobby the University to undertake a review – with student input – of its external events policy, guidance, and oversight process” and to ‘’lobby specifically for the decoupling of legalistic considerations, in particular the Prevent duty, from the question of safeguarding student and staff welfare, health, and safety”.

Responding to the motion, a spokesperson for the University told Varsity that there exists a “risk assessment form” where those responsible for receiving and processing room booking applications can input their concerns. They stated that this “is not considered under Prevent legislation”.

The motion noted that evidence of harassment by supporters of J4MB toward students on social media has been sent to Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope and the University Proctors. An open letter signed by over 490 people and a petition with over 380 signatures have called for the event’s cancellation.

Speaking to The Guardian, a university spokesperson said of the open letter: “Under the University’s room booking policy and in line with our commitment to freedom of speech, the lawful expression of controversial or unpopular views is not grounds for withholding permission for an event.”

The J4MB event, scheduled for 24th May, is to be held in the Alison Richard Building on Sidgwick Site. On their website, the group refers to the event as “a new strategy for J4MB, engaging with university student and academics, particularly those studying or teaching subjects close to our mission”.

A CUSU Council member referred to J4MB as “an explicitly anti-feminist group” who target “individual feminists” and claimed that “various academics at this University have been targeted by them in the past”.

Another noted that the matter is not simply a “gender issue”, but “a matter of harassment of people who live and work in this University”.

Speaking to Varsity, J4MB leader Mike Buchanan denied allegations that the group has threatened and harrassed individuals.


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“I fail to see why we should not hold an event on departmental university premises, on commercial terms. We have a legally binding contract.”

Buchanan accepted the claim that the group is anti-feminist: “We wear our anti-feminism as a badge of pride”.

One Council member said that it is “not good enough” that the controversial Prevent duty, which legally binds the University to act to prevent radicalisation, is one of the only means of regulating external groups booking rooms and hosting events on University premises.

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