One might argue — in these days of perpetual outrage — that the squeaky wheel indeed gets the grease.
Well, as long as it's the right kind of wheel.
Seems a speaker linked to gay conversion therapy was part of a Christian conference held at Worcester College in the United Kingdom earlier this month, the Oxford Tab reported.
And when some students learned the Wilberforce Academy's conference included Mike Davidson — who advocates for "professional assistance" to help individuals "leave behind unwanted homosexual practices" — the perturbed students complained to Worcester College for hosting the conference, the Tab noted.
The students asserted that Davidson's stances are "hateful and invalidating," the outlet added.
Who is Davidson?
Davidson is CEO of Core Issues Trust and X-Out Loud, the Tab reported, adding that he has said he "takes people seriously who say they want to move away from homosexual practices and feelings". Davidson spoke at a conference event titled, "LGBT and Change," the outlet said.
Davidson's group also is concerned about the "encroaching politico-religious identity of Islam" and tries to "understand how to respond to these doctrines," the outlet also noted. But some students deemed such language inflammatory and were disturbed by a conference session titled, "The nature of Islam," the Tab reported.
What did the upset students do?
The angry students emailed Worcester's Junior Common Room president, LGBTQ+ representative, and Ethnic and Religious Minorities representative, the outlet said.
"Many of us come to uni hoping to be allowed to be ourselves and know we can trust our new community and home," the students' email read, according to the Tab. "But how are we expected to place our trust in somewhere that, if it weren't for a leaflet being left behind at breakfast, would have left us unaware that they had hosted a group that has consistently aimed to persecute and strip us of our rights for our sexuality, gender, and or religion?"
Deluge of apologies
Check out the massive mea culpa from a Worcester spokesperson, according to the Tab:
"We deeply regret the distress caused to students, staff, and other members of the college community by the presence of the Wilberforce Academy conference. The college was not aware of the speaker list or program content in advance. The booking was taken in good faith, but it is clear that our procedures did not work as they should. We have begun an urgent review to ensure that this does not happen again. We have agreed with the JCR Committee that the profit from the conference will be set aside to fund dedicated equality, diversity, and inclusivity initiatives. We are working with students and other members of the college community to identify the most appropriate projects. We acknowledge that this was a serious failure that has caused significant distress, and we apologize unreservedly to all those who have been affected."
The outlet also noted a reply from the co-chair of the SU LGBTQ+ Campaign:
"We stand in full solidarity with you and will do our best to take the necessary action to prevent this from being an issue again in the future. We were totally unaware this was happening and are extremely upset to hear that Worcester has hosted individuals propagating such a harmful rhetoric, and as you say, seemingly tried to do so without drawing attention to the fact it was happening. We agree that it is alarming that an organization with such a poor history across the university should continue to be given a platform, and are keen to prevent this from being the case in the future."
Oh, and here's what the JCR Committee had to say, according to the Tab:
"We appreciate how promptly the college took action, to resolve their oversight in hosting the Wilberforce Academy. We were equally shocked and disappointed to hear about the conference, and we would like to thank the freshers who brought it to our attention and voiced their worries. We would like to encourage all students not to hesitate to contact us if something in college concerns them."
How did Wilberforce Academy respond?
As you might imagine, Wilberforce Academy was not happy that the college apologized for hosting its conference — and called it an example of "cancel culture."
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern — which runs Wilberforce Academy — told the Tab the following:
"It seems that cancel culture has once again demonstrated the power of its grip in one of our top universities, fueled by a small group of activists who won't tolerate any view that departs from their own narrow ideology and who will resort to tactics of misrepresentation and sweeping allegations to get their way, seemingly frightening nearly everyone into submission. That a college now led by someone who has so often claimed to be a defender of freedom of expression in higher education is rumored to have capitulated to this aggressive movement is even more concerning. We very much enjoyed our week at the college, were very warmly welcomed, including by the Provost, received many compliments from the staff and were not aware of any complaints or concerns being raised with us at the time. Yet now we hear it alleged that the college has 'apologized' for hosting us! We will be seeking urgent clarification. Whatever happens, we will continue to speak of Jesus Christ who was himself an 'outsider' and by his words and actions demonstrated his commitment to reaching the marginalized, excluded, and vulnerable so that they could discover true hope and everlasting love through him, even sacrificing his own life to do so."
(H/T: Christian Post)
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