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4th November 2012

NUS officer demands Nick Griffin interview retracted

University of Leeds student newspaper published an interview with BNP leader

A National Union of Students officer has demanded a student newspaper retract an interview it printed with Nick Griffin.

NUS black students officer Aaron Kiely wrote an open letter on his official blog calling for the Leeds Student to retract an interview they published on October 26 with the British National Party leader.

“We demand that the Editor of ‘Leeds Student’ remove this offensive interview that gives a platform to a fascist immediately,” Mr Kiely said in the post. “Leeds Student risks giving legitimacy to a fascist organisation, and boosts the BNP’s attempts to join the political mainstream.”

“The BNP stands for the elimination of the democracy and all freedoms that the Leeds Student claims to support.”

Leeds Student editor Lucy Snow wrote a response on the Guardian’s website as part of their Blogging Students series, defending the decision to publish the interview.

“It insults students’ intelligence to insist that they must be protected from extreme views. The idea that talking to Griffin or any other fascist legitimises their arguments is laughable,” she said in the article.

Over 100 hundred people have signed Mr Kiely’s the letter, including two students from the University of Manchester.

The NUS has a No Platform for Fascists policy, which saw, among others, George Galloway banned from NUS events last month.

“We must never give a platform to fascists anywhere in the student movement,” Mr Kiely said in his letter.

NUS president Liam Burns posted on his official blog saying he would not be signing the letter, but strongly supported the organisation’s No Platform.

“I have made it clear to the National Executive Council why I won’t be signing the letter because I believe that our work must always be with the students’ unions we work for, not separate to them,” he said in the post. “However, we also need to ensure those students that rightly found the article offensive know that they have our support in using their voice in their unions structures.”

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