The Socialist Alternative club at the University of Western Australia had its “club privileges” suspended on August 13. In effect, this amounts to a suspension of the club's affiliation to the Student Guild, which could be a prelude to complete disaffiliation.
The issue seems to have flared over posters produced for a campus forum on the topic “Why Israel is a terrorist state”. After initially approving the posters, and allowing them to be displayed in Guild areas on campus, on the day of the forum the Guild sent an email to the club saying that all the posters had been removed.
Guild representatives had already asked the club to change the title of the forum.
In enforcing this “suspension of club privileges”', the Guild has brought up several other issues about the club's conduct that appear to have been hastily cobbled together to justify the move. These include complaints about “Fuck Tony Abbott” T-shirts and “general reports of confrontational and aggressive behaviour”.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of these accusations — some of which date back 18 months and are generally vague — they should not be used to prevent any political club presenting its views to the broader student body.
Socialist Alternative said the process of suspending the club is in violation of the Guild's own regulations.
Green Left Weekly asked the Guild for comment but has received no reply.
The Socialist Alliance — not affiliated with Socialist Alternative — opposes the censorship of political student groups and is supporting the campaign to have “club privileges” reinstated.
Socialist Alternative has been circulating a petition online calling for the Guild to reverse its decision.