A student at Scotland’s Edinburgh University said she received a “safe space complaint” and was threatened with removal from a student council session after she raised her hand to disagree with a point being made during Thursday’s meeting.
Imogen Wilson, vice president for academic affairs at Edinburgh’s student association, said she was slapped with the complaint after she used hand gestures while criticizing a council resolution to support a boycott against Israel.
“At that point, I raised my arms in disagreement, as we had contacted the writers of the letter and tried hard to organize a meeting. It was for that reason that a safe space complaint was made,” Ms. Wilson told The Huffington Post U.K.
Section 6c of the Student’s Association’s safe space policy prohibits “hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made.”
The policy stipulates that disagreements “should only be evident through the normal course of debate.”
The student council voted 33-18 to let Ms. Wilson stay at the meeting, but she was threatened with another safe space complaint a short time later after she shook her head in disagreement with another student.
“I completely understand the importance of our safe space policy, and will defend it to the ground, but I did not think that was fair, and had it gone further I would have either left or argued against it,” Ms. Wilson told the Post.
One Edinburgh university student, Charlie Peters, called the complaint “pathetic” and has started a petition calling on the student union to “reinstate and defend free speech,” The Telegraph reported.
The petition, which has garnered more than 1,100 signatures, said: “We are adults, we do not need condescension or safeguarding.”