Liberty Union deserves criticism

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media. The responses defending Liberty Union since their eye-opening group chat was leaked tend to argue that it was somehow unfair that these messages reached the public eye. Liberty's advocates claim that this was a private group chat that should never have been made public, or that context is missing in the screenshots, and really these are just risqué jokes that aren't being properly represented. However, what these arguments fail to do is to justify why these horrific things are being said at all.

The messages leaked from Liberty's chat should incite more winces than laughs. These are dangerous, ugly statements that have a right to horrify many. Yes, there is an argument that private chats should not be leaked, but, now that LU's chat has been leaked, students have a right to be alarmed.

So-called 'echo chambers' are one of the main problems with social media, and the internet as a whole. They allow people, who make unsanitary jokes - that they would not share with general strangers -, to communicate with others holding these views, and receive encouragement.

Chats such as Liberty's are dangerous, and their privacy is a problem in itself. Though many of the messages were so-called 'jokes', the prejudiced sentiment that those jokes hold can only be challenged if raised in a public sphere. If this does not happen, and instead they are only mentioned around those that are considered 'safe', the sentiment can grow and worsen.

Finally, this is not an isolated occurrence for Liberty Union. Liberty are not being targeted here because they are more right-wing, or because the University is biased against them. They are in the spotlight because there is a clear trend between Liberty Union and trouble. Even outside of the consistent rumours of the views of Liberty members, Liberty brings controversy onto itself.

In short, Liberty Union deserves the criticism it is getting. It has always been controversial, and the statements and 'jokes' in their group chat inexcusable. Arguments can be made that they were private comments, or that people need thicker skin, but the reality of the situation is that those 'jokes' were racist, and people have a right to be upset.