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Further to ongoing consultation, UCLU has reversed its decision to stop Macer Gifford from speaking at a UCLU Kurdish Society event. As mentioned in our original statement, the initial decision was taken after a number of parties raised concerns about the nature of Gifford’s talk. In particular, there was a strong feeling that the event should not be allowed to go ahead without advice from the Metropolitan Police. 

On Friday 13th November, UCL finally received a response from the police, stating that they felt it would be safe and legally acceptable for us to host Gifford. In light of this information, UCL and UCLU staff, including Sabbatical Officers, have overturned their decision. The relevant organisers have been made aware and the event will now take place on 2nd December at 7pm in Darwin lecture theatre B40.

Although UCLU continues to be concerned about the alleged human rights abuses associated with YPG, we do realise that freedom of speech is of paramount importance on any university campus and in particular on the UCL campus. As a membership-led organisation it is our duty, once safety has been taken into consideration, to listen to our students’ opinions. We believe that our membership values freedom of speech and now that it has been deemed to be safe, we are pleased to be able to facilitate hosting an event that students are so passionate about.

In addition, we would like to apologise to anyone who misconstrued our intentions behind the original decision. UCLU would like to take this opportunity to unequivocally state that we fully condemn the acts of violence and hatred committed around the world by all extremist groups, including ISIS.