62% of Exeter students have voted against banning sales of The Sun newspaper on University campus, in a record-breaking referendum.
This week’s motion to boycott the newspaper as part of a “No More Page 3” campaign saw thousands of students vote in what was the biggest student turnout in a referendum in recent years. 1504 voted against banning the paper, with 2441 students voting in total.
The campaign, which began in Summer 2012, argued that The Sun should be banned from all University outlets until the bare breasts that feature on Page 3 are removed. Originally a petition, “No More Page 3” now has over 10,000 likes on Facebook and has attracted attention from a number of universities.
The issue has sparked controversy across campus, with both yes and no campaigns being vocal in their support and condemnation. An Xpression FM debate yesterday evening provoked strong emotions and saw a large majority vote against banning The Sun.
Virginia Walsh, a second year History student, raised the original complaint with the Students’ Guild. Walsh told Exeposé: “In my opinion this campaign is really important, because Page 3 perpetuates dangerous ideas about women’s worth. It creates unattainable and unnatural images of women, which can have really negative effects on girls’ body image.”
Critics of the campaign raised concerns over the University’s necessity to protect students’ freedom of speech, arguing that banning a newspaper could be considered as censorship.
George Causer, a second year Politics student, said: “It’s not the job of the University to decide what is an approved publication. The University is meant to promote free speech, not repress it.”
The result goes against some student opinion around the country, with both the University of Cambridge and Durham University recently banning the publication alongside the likes of the LSE and Edinburgh University.
Extended coverage will follow in next week’s paper.
Tom Elliott and Harrison Jones, Online News Editorsbookmark me