An article has recently been released by the London Student regarding the alleged 'no platforming' of Mona Eltahawy. This allegation is untrue, and has not been discussed at any level within our Executive Body.
It was recently suggested to us by a student that the Union put on an event with Mona Eltahawy. We approved of this suggestion and consequently were in discussions with the student about the format of the event (whether it should be in a panel format or just the speaker alone). We are happy to host this speaker.
It is disappointing that the London Student chose to publish an article before seeking any kind of confirmation or evidence from the Students' Union.
UPDATE: See below a statement from Aida Balafkan & Jonelle Twum, our Part-Time Womens' Officers (full-time students).
"On Wednesday 4th of November, we (Aida and Jonelle) were in conversation with a student about having an event with Mona Eltahawy. We were told by the student that Mona can only be available on "9th of December after 5pm" and that she needs to know as soon as possible because Mona needs to change her travel plans if we decided to have her.
We are both part-time officers, doing full time degrees and we can only host events if we have the time and the energy. After having a discussion with one of the Co-Presidents of the Union we decided that would be best to use this opportunity to host a panel discussion to create a dialogue. However, that meant more workload for the two of us. We tried our best to look for other panellists but again the time and energy that we had was very limited. We also find out there was no suitable room available on that specific date.
Already working on two events for the end of November, one on a panel discussion about intergenerational feminism on 30th, having essay deadlines in December and the limited time we had, we decided to withdraw and not host any event in December. The decision was never based around whether we should have Mona Eltahawy as a guest but rather more on a combination of practical reasons mentioned earlier. We simply physically and emotionally could not organise an event in the short time we had. We can confirm that there has been no "objections" or "concerns" but rather some serious critical discussions around some of her works and views.
We have never been in touch with Mona directly ourselves and the student has always been our point of contact. We are still not aware of the discussion between Mona and the student but what we can say is that we are saddened that the main reason for not going ahead with the event has been ignored.
Again I would like to stress that we, Jonelle and I, decided not to go ahead with the event because of time and the fact that Mona had requested a quick confirmation from us which we realised we cannot give. There have been serious misunderstandings and miscommunications on all parts and we are sorry about that. Only one other member of the Union has been involved in the process (as mentioned earlier)."
Our Co-President Activities & Events, Zain Dada, will now be helping to organise the event.