The UK does not want 'Hooters'. It is a retrograde step for a country dedicated to gender equality

Friday, 11 March 2011

Hooters and Bristol University Student Union - Part Two

After a lot of badgering and persuading, we finally persuaded someone, somewhere at the Student Union to reply on November 4. He was not very polite or supportive. Here’s his answer – abbreviated for reasons for space, boredom (yours and mine) and, well, because I can… If you can’t be bothered to read the whole, trite thing, I’ve highlighted the most alarming bits in bold.


Firstly, I apologise for time that has elapsed since you emailed, I'm afraid it took some time to collect all the facts on this particular matter.

I'm sorry you and your fellow campaigner found my other reply to be 'wishy-washy' and 'unconstructive'. It was, however, an accurate and honest reply. The reality is that I am NOT able to make unilateral decisions to ban students from having ties with certain companies. We are a democratic organisation and have procedures for these things. Whether you agree with it or not, I am standing by these democratic procedures.

As for your point about endorsing violence against women - yes, I agree that the Students' Union and the University are united against violence perpetrated on women, or violence of any nature really.

What we are not prepared to do is make the leap of logic you have clearly made. It is by no means necessary that free speech and debate on feminism and women's perspectives on the world (especially in a world of Hooters) equates to endorsing violence against women. This claim is rooted in your opinion, which you are entitled to, but your opinion is not grounds for censorship.

As for your specific claims about the Epigram articles, I am afraid that after thorough review, we cannot find any fault with the representation provided. While you can take issue with the quality of writing, there was nothing legally problematic in the articles. After searching for evidence, your claims of factual inaccuracy and 'lap-dancing vouchers' appear to be baseless.

Let me make it clear that our Students' Union supports all student activity that is not harmful to people, and it extends this support equally to the Feminist Society and the Pole Dancing society. We support the debate about how 'empowering' these activities actually are for women, but we leave our members to make up their own minds about what to conclude.

Please bear in mind that I'm accountable to my membership rather than whichever member of the public is trying to bully people around to their point of view.

Before you accuse me of misogyny, note that I am a member of the Bristol Feminist Society and do not approve of Hooters or pole dancing. However, I am obliged to represent and defend the rights of ALL students that I represent - which means upholding their freedom of speech and their right to make decisions I don't agree with.

Yours Faithfully,


SU President 


(To be continued...)

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