No power to halt BNP recruiters on campus

February 15, 2002

Greenwich University said this week that it was powerless to prevent members of the British National Party from recruiting students on its campus.

Following reports that a Greenwich student was recruiting for the BNP, a spokeswoman said: "Political affiliation is not a condition of study here."

The spokeswoman said that unless there were complaints regarding a serious breach of procedures, then the student would be treated no differently from anyone else. "We have very robust equal opportunities and harassment policies and would take very seriously any breaches."

Shantal Phippen, president of Greenwich students' union, said the local council had warned her of the possibility of BNP activities in the area. "We are keeping our ear to the ground but I doubt whether many students here would be interested," she said.

Leeds University is also braced for BNP activism. A third-year student is standing for the party in this May's council election. But a university spokeswoman said: "The student is standing legitimately and there is no appropriate action the university could take. However, it would be true to say the vast majority of staff and students here find his views abhorrent."

The students' union has a "no platform" policy for extremist groups to ensure the "safety of all students". Kathryn Edwards, of Leeds students' union, said the policy was designed to deny groups such as the BNP and their front organisations a platform from which to propagate their hatred.

"Some people want the student to be expelled from the union but we can't do that," Ms Edwards said.

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