Megan Dunn, the president of the National Union of Students, has stated that ‘I will not work with Cage, the NUS will not be working with Cage and there will be no NUS resources used to work with Cage’. This comes as response to David Cameron describing the NUS as ‘allying’ with the controversial group.
Although Cage describes itself as an ‘independent organisation working to empowercommunities impacted by the War on Terror’ and clearly states that it ‘does not support terrorism in any form’, distrust for the organisation has been increasing.
The crossover of opinions between Cage and the NUS has come from the government’s Prevent plan, a counter-extremism strategy that has been criticised by both groups. The strategy, design to protect universities, has been seen by some at the NUS as a ‘racialised, Islamophobic witch-hunt’ which exists to ‘police Muslim expression’. This argument has also been put forward by Cage who explained how the policy threatens ‘freedom of expression’.
The NUS described that their opposition to this agenda is ‘based on both principled and practical concerns’ and ‘both valid and appropriate.’ The latest quote from Ms Dunn maintains that they are in no way in support of Cage, with Ms Dunn explaining how Cage would not be compatible with the NUS’s policies on ‘anti-racism, anti-fascism and how we define anti-semitism.’
With ‘hate speakers’ appearing in more than 70 university events last year it is clear that strategies opposing terrorism in universities are important. However does the Prevent strategy cross a line that limits free speech? Let us know your thoughts on social media.