“No Offence” publication banned from Freshers’ Fair
The first issue of “No Offence”, a new publication, has been banned from being distributed at Freshers’ Fair following a decision taken by OUSU.
The publication, which has strong links to the popular Facebook group Open Oxford, was prohibited from being distributed under section 13 of the Stallholder’s regulations, which states that an OUSU officer has the right to “remove offensive material” from the fair.
The parts of the publication that OUSU found to be offensive included a satirical feature “Letters to the Editor”. In one of the fake letters, an author under the name “Les B Anne” criticized men by saying that “all of the assaults are done by them [the men], all of the rapes, all of the murders”, and in another “A Wyatt Man” referred to “the liberal media” from “stopping us from asking all the hard questions about the muzzies”.
A separate submission entitled “Dickly Living”, a satire of the Facebook discussion group Cuntry Living, was also deemed to be offensive for use of ableist language and reference to organizing a mass “rape swagger”.
Jacob Williams, editor of No Offence commented: “There’s clearly room for disagreement about where to draw the line between satire and needless offence. We twice gave OUSU the chance to take issue with specific parts of the magazine. They declined to do so and simply claimed the whole magazine was offensive. By banning the magazine outright all they have done is prevent the airing of controversial views and confirm everything the ‘free speech’ movement has been saying.
“The irony of banning a magazine called ‘No Offence’ for being offensive is clearly lost on them”.
OUSU have since released an official statement saying: “‘The editor-in-chief of ‘No Offence’, Jacob Williams, asked Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) to review his magazine for distribution at OUSU’s Freshers’ Fair.
“The magazine included a graphic description of an abortion, the use of an ableist slur, a celebration of colonialism, and a transphobic article. In an attempt of satire, another article suggested organising a “rape swagger” – in the style of a “slut walk” – in order to make rape “socially acceptable”.
“OUSU do not want to be associated with the views in this magazine, therefore do not want it to be distributed at our event. The offensive views exhibited in this magazine do not in any way represent the majority of Oxford students, or OUSU. We therefore are very comfortable with our decision not to allow the publication at our event, and would like to emphasise that the editors of ‘No Offence’ are completely free to publish the document online, in the exact form in which it was sent to us, to enable students who wish to read it to do so”.
No Offence, which states that “Now is the time to talk about free speech”, stresses the need for discourse on campus by focusing on arguments that are rarely openly expressed and warns readers to “expect to be offended”.
The Oxford Student can report that the initial correspondence between Williams and OUSU centered on Williams’ concerns about some of the satire and erotica that feature within the publication and therefore asked that the content be looked over before it was sent to print.