A student was almost kicked out of a meeting after she violated a ‘safe space’ by raising her arm at Edinburgh University.
Imogen Wilson wanted to make a point at Thursday’s student council session when she was told off by officials.
The vice-president for academic affairs at the university’s Student Association was accused of failing disabled students by not responding to an open letter.
She immediately raised her arm to disagree but was made the subject of a ‘ludicrous’ complaint and told not to make the gesture again.
Imogen was also warned for shaking her head during the meeting as it again breached the ‘safe space’ which is part of the university’s Student Association rules.
She told The Huffington Post: ‘…I raised my arms in disagreement, as we had contacted the writers of the letter and tried hard to organise a meeting. It was for that reason that a safe space complaint was made.’
Student Association policy says that council members should be respectful and considerate.
Section 6c of the safe space policy is defined as: ‘Refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made. Disagreements should only be evident through the normal course of debate.’
A vote took place to decide whether Imogen should be removed from the meeting after she was accused of breaking the rules.
The vote was in her favour: with 18 people for removal and 33 supporting her staying.
Imogen added: ‘I completely understand the importance of our safe space policy, and will defend it to the ground, but I did not think that was fair, and had it gone further I would have either left or argued against it.’
One student, a fourth-year, who wished to remain anonymous, said the complaint was ‘ludicrous’ and was an ‘abuse of the entire intent of safe space’.
‘We were having one of the most emotionally tense councils of the year, with the vote on the BDS [The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and people speaking who live in Palestine or are Israeli on both sides of the issue.
‘There was ample risk of there being an actual safe space issue taking place – an anti-semitic or Islamophobic comment for instance – but the whole debate was actually remarkably civil despite how emotional it was.’
First-year Edinburgh student Charlie Peters tweeted against the safe space policy and set up a petition against it. By yesterday afternoon it had 1,000 signatures.
‘Safe spaces now censor “inappropriate hand gestures” – my university is becoming pathetic,’ he told his Twitter followers.
The EUSA have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.