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News – How to defend your University CU

June 2007

How to defend your University CU

Following recent attempts to de-register some University Christian Unions, the Christian Institute has published a concise guide aimed at helping CUs defend their legal rights. It was written by a CI full-time researcher, Alasdair Armour, who himself was involved in defending his CU while he was at university.

Exeter, Birmingham and Edinburgh University CUs are all currently involved in defending their right to exist as official student bodies. There are bound to be more attacks like these on other CUs around the UK.

The law is actually on the side of Christian Unions to actively exist within universities. This briefing details the laws which CUs can use to defend their rights. It also shows the biblical justification for using the law and outlines the experience of other university CUs.

The guide is four pages long and contains accounts of some CUs who have had legal difficulties with their student’s union or university authority.

Drawing examples from the apostle Paul’s experiences as a Roman citizen, it shows how Christians may use the law to defend themselves and do what is right in given situations.

The leaflet refers to several sources of legal support for Christian Unions. Section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 obliges governing bodies of universities to allow freedom of speech for individuals and organisations. This includes the safeguard that the use of premises is not denied on the basis of beliefs. This law does not however apply to Scotland.

Other documents cited are The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (GB), The Equality Act 2006 (GB), The European Convention on Human Rights, and Guidance from the Committee of Vice Chancellors. Copies of the leaflet and fuller extracts and explanations can be found at www.christian.org.uk/defendyourcu
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