Middlesex University today gave into pressure and agreed to lift the suspension of Keith Shilson, its student union president, who was escorted off campus last week after refusing to cancel a debate with the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Keith Shilson said "I consider this to be a total victory and it sends out a positive message to student union around the country about democracy and autonomy of student unions as well as about freedom of speech."
But the University has published an apology from Keith Shilson which reads:
"Although I disagreed with the instruction, I regret refusing to comply with it and wish to apologise to the university. I now accept that the university was perfectly within its rights to issue that instruction which was motivated by concerns for the university's reputation and concerns for the health, safety and welfare of its staff and students."
Under the terms of his reinstatement, Mr Shilson has agreed not to discuss today's meeting.
The government has announced that it intends to use controversial powers contained in the new Terrorism Bill to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, even though the group has no connection with violence. SACC is opposed to these new powers, and we are deeply concerned that Middlesex University has apparently acted in advance of the proposed new legislation - which has yet to be debated in Parliament - to enforce its own de facto ban on Hizb ut-Tahrir. It should not be part of the job of university administrators to second-guess Parliament.