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University Of East Anglia Overturn Decision To Cancel UKIP Event

The event was cancelled following a petition calling for the student union to "protect students who feel intimidated or degraded by the party". This post was updated after the union announced an event with UKIP would take place.

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UPDATE 28/11/2014, 1808: The University of East Anglia's student union today overturned a decision to cancel an event involving a UKIP parliamentary candidate after claims it had restricted freedom of speech.

In a statement on Facebook, the union said that the politics society could hold an event with members of UKIP, on the condition that there was another speaker who provided an alternative view.

"The principal regulatory step additional to those already identified is taken to require that the event includes clear debate and challenge to the views of the external speaker via an opposing speaker chosen on the basis of robust and fair challenge," the statement said.

A counter-petition on change.org gained 320 supporters overnight and called on the union to allow UKIP to speak on the campus "for the simple sake of fair and just democracy".

The student union yesterday cancelled the event featuring UKIP candidate Steve Emmens to take place on Thursday evening because "procedure" had not been followed.

Facebook: ueastudentsunion

The petition, launched by international public policy and public management student Timea Suli, called on the student union to cancel the event "to protect students who feel intimidated or degraded by the party. Help us keep our campus a safe, productive, and caring place, where we can all work together regardless of who we are and where we come from."

Suli added that the university would abandon its values if it held the event, which was organised by the Political, International and Social Studies society.

It would have seen UKIP chairperson Eric Masters and Emmens, the party's parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, speak in a lecture hall at the university on Thursday evening.

UKIP MP Douglas Carswell, a UEA alumnus, quickly criticised the decision on Twitter, blaming it on "student lefties".

UEA student lefties have banned UKIP from speaking on campus. Sld boost turnout when I speak there in the New Year. #FreeThinking

Douglas Carswell MP@DouglasCarswellFollow

UEA student lefties have banned UKIP from speaking on campus. Sld boost turnout when I speak there in the New Year. #FreeThinking

4:23 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

UEA's postgraduate education officer told Carswell that the event was cancelled to "ensure that all of our members feel safe", adding that the party had not been banned from the campus.

@DouglasCarswell Sorry you feel that way Douglas. Our duty is to ensure that all of our members feel safe.. (1/2)

Liam McCafferty@LiamMcCaffertyFollow

@DouglasCarswell Sorry you feel that way Douglas. Our duty is to ensure that all of our members feel safe.. (1/2)

4:49 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@DouglasCarswell that's why we will be reviewing our decision on whether UKIP be invited. (2/2)

Liam McCafferty@LiamMcCaffertyFollow

@DouglasCarswell that's why we will be reviewing our decision on whether UKIP be invited. (2/2)

4:50 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@DouglasCarswell No one has been banned, Douglas. We are reviewing our procedures to ensure all views on safety & accessibility are heard.

Liam McCafferty@LiamMcCaffertyFollow

@DouglasCarswell No one has been banned, Douglas. We are reviewing our procedures to ensure all views on safety & accessibility are heard.

5:06 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

He said the university would decide whether Carswell will be allowed speak at an already organised event in January.

@DouglasCarswell that would be a decision for @uniofeastanglia.

Liam McCafferty@LiamMcCaffertyFollow

@DouglasCarswell that would be a decision for @uniofeastanglia.

5:42 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Many people criticised the decision to cancel the event, arguing that it was against freedom of speech.

@LiamMcCafferty @DouglasCarswell Things have changed since I was at university. Guess freedom of speech is not the same thing these days.

Grant@fatwheezyblokeFollow

@LiamMcCafferty @DouglasCarswell Things have changed since I was at university. Guess freedom of speech is not the same thing these days.

4:54 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@LiamMcCafferty @DouglasCarswell I see free speech isn't popular at your university!

Craig Thew@cmjthewFollow

@LiamMcCafferty @DouglasCarswell I see free speech isn't popular at your university!

4:54 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@stephenphelps @DouglasCarswell @LiamMcCafferty That is how the left work, ban everyone that doesn't agree with their opinion

Super Old Holborn@SuperOldHolbornFollow

@stephenphelps @DouglasCarswell @LiamMcCafferty That is how the left work, ban everyone that doesn't agree with their opinion

5:09 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Students at the University of Essex, a region where UKIP has a strong base, are reportedly trying to ban a similar event.

@DouglasCarswell they're attempting to do same at my University in Essex for @Tim_Aker in December! Posters everywhere calling for picket

Fred@FTAHicksFollow

@DouglasCarswell they're attempting to do same at my University in Essex for @Tim_Aker in December! Posters everywhere calling for picket

5:10 PM - 27 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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