Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Equal Ops

This is going to be just a quick note and sort of without context. I saved a link a while ago to an item of news on the University of Nottingham's website, concerning the internal investigation into one of their union officers. The officer was taking part in a group exercise in which members of the group were holding up signs displaying controversial topics of debate. The officer in question, Craig Cox, held up a sign on which was written 'Bring Back Slavery'. After an investigation, Craig was found to be in breach of the university's equal opportunities policy.

From the website:

"whilst the NUS acknowledges that he did not write the sign or deliberately hold it up, the ruling has been upheld and the Students’ Union stands by this."
There's clearly no way that we can say anything about this case in particular without knowing more details, but the sentence quoted above just makes no sense to me. How can anyone be censured for doing something they did not intend to do, where the action represented a view that they do not hold?

I've got nowhere else to go with this train of thought, but when I read that sentence a while back it seemed illogical and bizarre, and I was wondering if others felt the same, or whether I'm missing something.


James said...

My question would be how controversial is "Bring Back Slavery"? Are there large numbers of people in the world prepared to argue for it?

TheTelf said...

Does a view have to be popular to be controversial? Or just counter to the usual view (and in an area where people hold strong views)?

James said...

I think it should have some sort of popular (even if limited) backing to be controversial. Otherwise I think the label "controversial" gives it a level of credibility it doesn't deserve. "attention grabbing" would be better.

TheTelf said...

I don't know if it's necessarily a central tenet of their beliefs, but I'm sure you could find support in White Supremacist groups (for example). How much support is needed for it to be controversial? 100 people? 1000?