Anti-abortion student group at Aberdeen University permitted affiliation after commencing legal action
A student anti-abortion group that launched legal action after being denied the right to affiliate now has a presence on campus.
Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (ALES) claimed that an Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) policy of “deplatforming pro-life student societies” ran contrary to equality and human rights laws.
It has now been affiliated, though legal action is still being pursued.
Papers were lodged last month at Aberdeen Sheriff Court as ALES argued it was being denied a presence on campus.
The legal action, it said, followed “repeated efforts to resolve this problem through internal bureaucratic channels”.
ALES said in a statement: “AUSA informed us that our society application has been approved, which means we have officially received affiliation.
“This is a long-awaited result to a seemingly endless battle, but we could not be more pleased.”
AUSA said: “We can confirm that an application to affiliate was received from Aberdeen Life and Ethics Society and was subsequently approved.”
A University of Aberdeen spokesperson said: “The University is an inclusive community and recognises different beliefs, values and cultures.
“Student societies and clubs sit with the Aberdeen University Students’ Association.”
In a similar case, student organisation Glasgow Students for Life was also refused the right to affiliate at Glasgow University.
In that case, its lawyers, were able to demonstrate that the decision was based on a rejection of the beliefs held by members of the association and as this fell within a protected characteristic of the Equalities Act 2010, it was unlawful unless otherwise justifiable under recognised human rights principles.
Faced with the prospect of legal challenge, the council was made to think again and accepted that it had no option but to grant affiliation.