Controversial YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad, public name Carl Benjamin, has been confirmed to speak at the University of Kent next week, despite objections from Kent Union.
The 39-year-old content creator, who has over 850,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of writing, is now set to speak at a UKC Liberty Union event next Wednesday titled: ‘Populism in a changing West’.
This news comes after a group of university activists launched a petition to cancel the event from going ahead.
In a statement, Kent Union said: ‘We recommended to the University that permission be denied due to the views expressed by Benjamin in the past and our belief that, given the speaker’s controversial views regarding rape culture, religion and race, there is a high risk that the speaker would incite hatred on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation and thus that the law could be broken.
‘We are therefore not allowing Benjamin to speak at a Kent Union or Kent Union Society event and we will not be using any Kent Union resources to further Benjamin attending campus.'
The University also released a statement on Saturday saying:
'On 8 November the University received an external speaker request from the Kent Union student society Liberty Union.
This request for speaker Carl Benjamin was assessed and permission granted (with strict conditions attached) in compliance with the University’s commitment under its Charter to freedom of speech and its legal obligations under the Education Act [No.2] 1986 which requires that we "shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers".
The University promotes intellectual curiosity and fully commends our students’ intentions to seek to understand the ideas and opinions of others. We have every confidence that they will be able to provide respectful and robust challenge to views different from their own.'
InQuire will be conducting an interview with Carl Benjamin this week.
More details to follow.
Kent Union's full statement can be read here: https://kentunion.co.uk/news/article/CarlBenjaminspeaker