Kent Union uphold ban on Liberty Union

Photo by Marianne Martin

Kent Union have upheld their decision to suspend Liberty Union until the new academic year following an appeal made by the society.

On the 28th March, a disciplinary panel found that UKC Liberty Union had breached Kent Union rules, and thus several sanctions were imposed against the society.

The panel levied six sanctions against the group, which included a suspension of society activities until the 14th of June, the implementation of Union reviewed social media guidelines along with the removal of any social media group chats, the requirement for all UKC Liberty members to take online Diversity and Inclusivity training before the start of next year, and the individuals names of members involved were passed onto the University for its own disciplinary procedures.

As part of Kent Union's policy, individuals and societies have the right to appeal the results of any disciplinary procedure, and Liberty Union appealed the decision of the investigation, made up of Union staff members, Sabbatical officers, and a representative of the University of Kent's Management team. Liberty Union then decided to appeal the decision by the panel discussion.

Since Kent Union's annoucncement, the society have released a statement in response to the findings of the panel, claiming that the society is against all members of the society being punished "for the distasteful comments of a few", and also highlighted the reality that over 30% of Liberty Union members who are members of an ethnic minority will be required to complete the Equality and Inclusivity training.

The society did, however, welcome the findings by the panel that Liberty Union, and the committee itself, were not "inherently racist", and Liberty Union has taken responsibility for a lack of sufficient monitoring of the group's chats.

The appeal was seen by the President of Kent Union, Aaron Thompson, who had previously not been involved in the investigation procedures.

Consequently, President Thompson, after reviewing the minutes of the panel discussions, found no signs of failure to follow Union procedure and no signs of bias among panel members.

The appeal has since been officially denied as of the 11th of April, and Liberty Union's suspension has been upheld.