Protest at Glasgow University over ‘sexist culture’

Around 200 people gathered outside the main university library for the demonstration yesterday. Picture: PA
Around 200 people gathered outside the main university library for the demonstration yesterday. Picture: PA
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INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day yesterday saw a demonstration by around 200 people against the “elitist sexist culture” at a Scottish university’s students’ union.

The protest followed alleged sexist heckling of two women speakers – Rebecca Meredith, from King’s College, Cambridge, and Marlena Valles, from Edinburgh University – at a Glasgow University Union Ancients debate last weekend.

The Rally Against Campus Misogyny, organised by Glasgow University Feminist Society, staged their protest outside the main university library yesterday.

Banners and placards saying “kick sexism off our campus”, “end GUU sexism” and “smash sexism” were prominent.

The society said the demonstration was to highlight “sexism” at the university, particularly at the GUU.

Caroline Moore, 25, an honours year philosophy student who helped organised the protest, said: “It has been so wonderful to receive so many messages of support for this campaign. We’re really hopeful for a change.

“The incident at the Ancients embodies an entire culture of misogyny that has gone on far too long.

“This is our opportunity to change these damaging attitudes.”

Clopin Meehan, president of the feminist society, said: “This disgusting incident was not a one-off. It’s one in a long line of examples of an elitist sexist culture that is still permitted at the GUU. We need to change this and cannot rely on the current GUU executive board doing that themselves.”

A university spokesman said GUU board members held a meeting immediately after the heckling incident.

“We fully appreciate the anger many have felt over the past few days,” he said. “The university cannot and will not tolerate abusive, threatening or sexist behaviour. The principal has written to the two women speakers to apologise and to outline measures now being taken. He also met with the president of the GUU where assurances were sought, and given, that lessons would be learned and acted upon to ensure nothing of this nature ever happens again.”

“An investigation by the Glasgow University Union is now ongoing.

“When these findings are known they will also be taken into consideration by the university as part of our proceedings.”