Students turn their back on controversial columnist
‘Inappropriate’ guest for celebration
BRUNEL University students delivered a public snub to Katie Hopkins by walking out of a lecture the outspoken TV pundit was due to deliver.
The former Apprentice star was invited to a debate on welfare at Brunel’s Uxbridge campus, during which a group of students got up and turned their back on her and then walked out in silence.
The protest was organised by students union president Ali Milani who said he was surprised by the media storm the stunt provoked.
Katie Hopkins used her column in a national newspaper to slate academic institutions as telling students not “how to think, but what to think.”
She wrote: “A terrifying number conform to one way of thinking.
“Not only do they demand that you comply with their view, but seek to deride and de-legitimise anyone with an alternative opinion.
“I am so used to students trying to discredit me with labels, I even sent Brunel a list in advance, spelling them in the way those ill-educated by reality might choose to do.”
Hopkins tweeted an image of a list of labels Brunel students could “stick on her” such as ‘racist’ and ‘bigot’.
She accused Mr Milani and the Brunel students union of stifling free speech over a leaked email, which she said warned students against speaking to the press after the sudden media interest.
Mr Milani confirmed the leaked email was an internal email sent out to the Union’s executive members and staff members, not all
to students. He added: “Obviously, within the organisation, we need to speak as one voice.
“That was sent to staff so we don’t have six or seven messages coming out of the same organisation.
“In a personal capacity, anyone can say what they want but in the organisation we need to speak in one voice.
“We always expected Katie to go down the free speech route, but it’s really weak. She’s pedalling an argument that doesn’t exist.”
Hopkins also accused students of ‘whitesplaining’ by previously attending lectures by so-called ‘hatepreachers’ Uthman Lateef and Doctor Fikry.
Mr Milani confirmed that the Uthman Lateef lecture did not go ahead and students spoke out against Doctor Fikry.
He said: “Students protested that as well, they just protested it in a different way.”
Kirsty Capes, a PHD creative writing student who joined the protest, said: “I found it highly inappropriate that the University chose to invite someone who has said such offensive things regarding class, race, religion and women, to an anniversary celebration.
“In Brunel’s 50th year we ought to be showcasing our rich diversity and multiculturalism, and people like Katie Hopkins are the absolute antithesis of that ethos.”
n PROTEST: Students walk out of a lecture due to be given by columnist Katie Hopkins, above