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Statement regarding Libertarian Society event

Posted on 06/03/2018
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6 March 2018

Statement from Professor Edward Byrne AC

President & Principal

Many of you will have already heard that last night’s event organised by KCL Libertarian Society had to be cancelled after protestors violently forced their way into the venue. 

I’m shocked to have to report that the behaviour of these protestors was particularly aggressive and violent.  Some of the attendees and our security staff were injured when demonstrators - some of them masked and hooded - forced their way into the lecture hall.  A smoke bomb was thrown.  The whole event was a frightening experience for everybody who was there, including staff who were doing their job.  My personal thanks to our quick-thinking and highly professional security staff, who despite having put enhanced security in place, found themselves having to handle this dangerous situation. 

Providing an environment for open and uncensored debate on issues, even when controversial and conflicting views are likely to be aired, is an integral way that King’s can create an open and inspiring place to learn.  These events should absolutely be able to take place without fear of violence and intimidation.

I want to be clear that while we take our responsibilities to provide a safe platform for free, peaceful and respectful dialogue very seriously, we cannot, and will not, tolerate the use of violent protest in any situation.  The injuries sustained by our security staff and the physical violence on display are totally unacceptable in any university community.

We have requested a full Police investigation and if it transpires that any King’s student was involved in the violent protest, we will invoke the most stringent measures under the student disciplinary process.  We do not yet know if the violence to our staff was perpetrated by members of our community or external parties.

At King’s we must continue to aspire to make the world a better place by serving the needs of society as individuals, and importantly, as a community.  I know that the vast majority of our staff and students want to pursue this aim in a peaceful and constructive way and I am grateful for that.  On all our behalf, I pass on our support and goodwill to our staff who were physically assaulted and to all those traumatised yesterday.

 

6 March 2018

Statement from King's College London regarding Libertarian Society event

Last night’s event organised by King’s College London’s Libertarian Society had to be cancelled after protestors violently forced their way into the venue. The Police attended and we are fully co-operating with their investigation. We absolutely condemn the use of violent protest in any situation.

Universities provide an environment for open and uncensored debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance and where people have conflicting views. This should be able to take place without fear of violence or intimidation. King’s takes its responsibilities to provide a safe environment for free, peaceful and respectful dialogue very seriously. The university and Students' Union will be reviewing the incident to decide on appropriate action to be taken.

 

Statement regarding temporary postponement of high risk events: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/newsevents/news/newsrecords/2018/03-March/Temporary-postponement-of-high-risk-events.aspx 

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