UCCF statement on Balliol Christian Union at Freshers' Fair
Last week Balliol College JCR Committee took the decision to prevent Christian Union [CU] representatives from attending its freshers’ fair on the grounds that they wished the fair to be a safe and secular space.
The situation has now been amicably resolved following a JCR motion to ensure that religious groups can always be represented at freshers’ fairs in the future.
This type of incident is, to date, a pretty rare experience for CUs on campus. Most Student Unions [SU] are fair-minded and enjoy a good relationship with the CU in their university.
University Christian Unions provide a caring, supportive community to 20,000 students across the country each year. As such, they make a significant contribution to the well-being of students from many different backgrounds and cultures.
Last year, 40 CUs were either nominated or awarded SU awards for their contribution to university life, with Durham CU winning ‘Best Society Event’ at the NUS National Societies Award for their mission week earlier in the year.
The Revd Richard Cunningham (Director of UCCF) says: ‘We are however concerned that the current desire to provide safe spaces on campus does not infringe on the core liberties of freedom of speech and freedom of association which are surely foundational to the university experience and indeed to basic human flourishing.’
About UCCF: UCCF: The Christian Unions is a non-denominational organisation which exists to give students an opportunity to engage with the Christian faith. It is a registered charity number 306137.