refused to share a platform with the well-known progressive campaigner Peter Tatchell, on the grounds that he's racist and transphobic. When he asked her for evidence, she refused to speak to him and wouldn't produce any.
Anyone who knows Peter knows very well he's never been remotely racist or transphobic. On the contrary, he's backed every anti-racist and pro-transgender campaign in his 49 years of human rights work. The accusations are totally absurd.
Yet the NUS officer, Fran Cowling, won't back down and the NUS leadership is supporting her rather than Peter. Peter sees this as another example of the growing censorship of free speech at universities and elsewhere.
He says: "This sorry, sad saga is symptomatic of the decline of free and open debate on some university campuses. There is a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere. Allegations are made without evidence to back them - or worse, they are made citing false, trumped-up evidence.
"The race to be more left-wing and politically correct than anyone else is resulting in an intimidating, excluding atmosphere on campuses. Universal human rights and enlightenment values....are often shamefully rubbished as the ideas of Western imperialist white privilege."
He points out that even if he did happen to be racist or transphobic, the best response isn't to shut the person out (what's called no-platforming) but to debate with them and expose their views for the nonsense they are. Open debate is surely what universities are all about.
But Fran Cowling and the NUS are happy to see Peter smeared as some kind of entrenched bigot, and then when he asks for evidence, they're too sneaky and cowardly even to respond. They're beneath contempt.
Pic: Peter Tatchell