Fight for freedom of speech in Universities!

by Sebastian Walsh

Fight for freedom of speech in Universities!

by Sebastian Walsh
Sebastian Walsh
Case Owner
I'm Sebastian but my friends call me Seb. I was born in Burnley but now I live in Wigan. I was studying for a BA in Children, Schools and Families so I could work in child protection.
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Sebastian Walsh
Case Owner
I'm Sebastian but my friends call me Seb. I was born in Burnley but now I live in Wigan. I was studying for a BA in Children, Schools and Families so I could work in child protection.
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Latest: Dec. 9, 2019

Computer says no!

Sorry for the long delay in updating here but we finally have some movement and it was predictable. My Barrister told me that in order to be allowed file a claim in Court we have to first exhaust a...

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My name is Seb and I am a first-year student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). If you follow any alternative media sites you may have heard about my recent suspension from UCLAN for having a viewpoint that they did not agree with.

This suspension has not only prevented me from attending current classes but also a teaching work placement. This is likely to have a lasting effect on my future career and hopes of working in child protection. They said:

 "It is likely to be of concern that Sebastian is on a course that could facilitate a career with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults."

Please help me save my career and make sure Universities are a place for open discussion! I need to raise at least £20,000 to fight this in court.

I have taken expert legal advice from a barrister and planning to issue a Judicial Review of The University of Central Lancashire's decision to suspend me for expressing a viewpoint that is contrary to what they consider appropriate. 

Here’s what happened:

In a discussion during a class I said:

"The UK is being islamified"

"Halal meat is violent and barbaric"

"Anyone who doesn't have legal status in the UK should not be given free handouts of our services"

As a result of this, some students, including ones who were not even there, filed complaints about me. They claimed that they had been made to feel unsafe and were harassed by my words which were used in the context of a discussion. 

I believe myself to be a polite and thoughtful person whose views are informed by fact and reason. I didn’t say anything criminal or threatening but I have shown well-researched concern with the fairness of the benefits system and the practice of ritual slaughter. This has led to the end of my formal education and the beginning of the end of my career in the social care sector. 

Universities are supposed to be an environment where young adults can respectfully express their viewpoints and be challenged by the views of others. However, as a result of the above, I was the subject of 3 disciplinary hearings. In those hearings, I attempted to get the faculty to see my point of view but they were determined to tell me my views were unacceptable without further discussion. It was written in my report that:

"A tutor says that she has already had discussions with Sebastian about keeping his personal and political beliefs to himself and about setting appropriate boundaries"

Instead of getting a fair hearing, I was accused of harassment. They determine harassment on this following basis:

It is not the intention of the alleged harasser that determines whether harassment has occurred, but whether it is considered unacceptable to the complainant”.

So even though I can rationally and calmly defend each point I made on the grounds of statistics and animal welfare, since some students complained, my opinion and intention is irrelevant. Furthermore, the Universities definition of harassment is not the same as the one used in the law.

Even so, the report at my second tier hearing concluded:

"It is clear to me that the students who have complained have all been offended by what Sebastian has said and that student C has experienced this as harassment. I, therefore, conclude that Sebastian has also breached regulation C1.4 and C1.9 also."

What happens next?

 My barrister says I have a very strong case to pursue but I'll need intial funding to start the claim and see it through. If I am successful with the Judicial Review, I will be readmitted to the university with a cleared record but I know the fight for fair and open discussion won’t end there.

While I know this is very important to my future, it is bigger than just me. Across the country universities will continue their campaign of censorship, de-platforming and vilification. If this is allowed to stand then only one type of view will be heard: Theirs. A civilised society cannot allow its academic institutions to determine what is acceptable discourse, that is a matter for the law and the students of today are the lawmakers of tomorrow. 

Freedom of speech does not and must not come with the provision that others cannot be offended by what you say. 60 years ago it was considered ‘offensive’ to suggest that women were equal! If we didn't say things that may be considered offensive to some then women wouldn't even have the vote! This is only one of many examples of progress through questioning the status quo.

Pandering to offence is a race to the bottom because no matter what you say, someone will always find offence in it. The cure to extreme views is not suppressing them, it is challenging them and discussing them.

Please help me save my education and stand up for freedom of speech when no-one else will. 

I may not agree with what everyone says but I will always defend their right to say it. Please help defend mine. 

Every little helps so please support me in any way you can.

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Update 4

Sebastian Walsh

Dec. 9, 2019

Computer says no!

Sorry for the long delay in updating here but we finally have some movement and it was predictable. My Barrister told me that in order to be allowed file a claim in Court we have to first exhaust all other avenues of appeal outside of Court or the Court would ignore your case and tell you to go and appeal. This meant all internal appeals, all of which I lost. Also, since the case of R (Zahid) v The University of Manchester [2017] EWHC 188 there's also been a requirement to appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. Sadly, I don't think the name represents the body. We fought hard but lost again.  I'll give you some of the highlights from the decision:


First they found my complaint to be 'Not Justified' - with such comments like these to justify it:

"Given the complaints against Mr Walsh, we consider that it was reasonable to conclude that his means of expression had been perceived as offensive to other students – in particular, to students from a specific cultural and religious practice and in the context that the discussions took place, namely within a classroom setting. And we can see that in reaching a decision the Committee and the Panel had regard for the University’s definition of “harassment” as: “…unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment…” And that: “…it is not the intention of the alleged harasser that determines whether harassment has occurred, but whether it is considered unacceptable to the complainant…” (emphasis added). In the Appeal Outcome the Panel explained that this definition was designed to align with relevant UK law and to: “…enable the University to regulate its community so that students could study and relax in a secure environment, and to prevent improper interference with…academic activities…”


They take into account the 'University's definition of 'harassment', not the legal definition, which states its not the intention of the harasser that matters but if the complainant feels it is unacceptable. So, intention and context are irrelevant here! 


At one stage in the OIA complaint, the University asserted this terrifying use of language in relation to the condition that I have to attend a 'diversity training course' and sign an undertaking of future good conduct:


"Their purpose was, and remains, to ameliorate the impact of Mr Walsh’s language and behaviour on others, to the point where the University would be duly critical of those others if his entitlement to express himself was not appropriately respected. "


I had to look that word up! “Ameliorate /əˈmiːlɪəreɪt/ verb: make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better.” I simply cannot follow the suggestion made that I must be reprogrammed before the University would offer to protect my views. This arrogance entirely displays the University's attitude towards views they perceive to be ‘bad or unsatisfactory’. My views were neither, simply contrary to the left-wing orthodoxy and no amount of four-dollar words will mollify that. This entire submission is designed to confusticate and misdirect a reader from an incredibly simple case of unlawful censorship. 


I'm going to try and throw together a document of all the exchanges between me and them so you can see exactly how out of touch they really are and worst still, they believe they are right, without question! 


As much as I was expecting to lose, it hurts to know that another institution, put in place to protect students from oppressive universities has supported obviously unlawful censorship! I'm just one young man against what feels like an entire system rigged to crush people like me from talking out. Not this time! 


Now they appeal has concluded it's time to issue in Court and as a result of that we will need to get this Crowdfunder going again so please donate, share, inform and pass this to your friends because the students of today are the lawmakers of tomorrow!

Update 3

Sebastian Walsh

Nov. 11, 2019

Jumping through the hoops

Dear All Kind Backers!

I just wanted to update you as regards what is happening with my case. So far, the money raised is in an escrow account with my lawyers and I can't touch it and it will only be used in conjunction with my case (incase you were worried). 

The next thing is due to the nature of judicial review, it has to be a 'Court of Last Instance, namely I have to exhaust all internal appeals first before I can even launch my claim or the Court would just say "go back and appeal properly". So, So I've now done that. No surprises for how far I got. 

My barrister has also told me the Court will adjourn the case so that I can go through 'mediation' at the Office of the Independent Adjudicator'  - as per the case of R (Zahid) v University of Manchester [2017] EWHC 188 (Admin) - which is where we are now with a conclusion on our way. 

UCLAN has made some remarkable submission in those proceedings and I can't wait to share them with you but until everything is on track it would prejudice the case to give the opposition my inside plan! I know they are watching! Let's show them what we think of Censorship! The bigger my war chest the better my chances of success. I'm just a student (well was!) after all so please keep giving generously. I won't let you down. 

Everything is going to plan, sorry for the delay, the Courts are slow but I'm still fighting this with everything I've got!

Thank you all again and speak soon! 

Update 2

Sebastian Walsh

March 5, 2019

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

We've already hit our first target meaning I can get started in instructing my barrister to commence the case! I must thank you all so so so much for all the support you have given me. It is deeply humbling to know that so many people, from around the world, feel so passionate about this cause. I now know that I stand a chance against the establishment and you are all to thank for helping the underdog in this fight! 

And fight I will! I am not going to let this go until we have sent a message to all universities that we will not allow free speech to be trampled. 

I'm going to be keeping this page updated with all of my progress and legal documents that are submitted for everyone to see. There is still a long way to go between now and the proceedings and I've set an ambitious stretch target but at least we have enough to get going! 

If not for the people on the front lines of the culture war you all may never have even heard of me so a special thank you to Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) who not only promoted me on his video but also gave a very generous donation. 

Thank you to each and everyone one of you, you truly are the guardians of free speech. 

Update 1

Sebastian Walsh

March 2, 2019

"1984 was supposed to be a cautionary tale, not a guidebook"

Oh my god! This appeal has bearly started and we've already raised so much! Thank you for your generosity and belief in freedom of speech. I have read every motivational comment and while what lies ahead of me seems daunting I am encouraged by the sheer amount of people who believe in this cause. 

I am so grateful to everyone, regardless of where you heard about me but a special thanks has to go to Young Independence who donated a symbolic '£1984' to remind us that for George Orwell's dystopia to become a reality, good people need only do nothing.   

Another big thank you to Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula), who has helped signal boost this cause to as many of his Youtube viewers as possible. You are a hero!

If we meet the target I am going to push this all the way. Me and my legal team will make as much noise about free speech as possible so please help keep the momentum going and like and share this page to as many people as you can! 

Thanks!

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