Following several reports from various media outlets and the submission of a ‘no confidence’ petition against Guild President Harry Anderson, the Guild has spoken out to all students about its decision to de-ratify the Liverpool Medical Student Society (LMSS).
Last week, students across the Medical School received an email stating that LMSS would no longer be able to use Guild facilities nor be supported by the Guild in any other capacity, with some members expressing dismay but many others showing approval of the decision.
Yesterday evening, Liverpool Guild of Students made a post on their website to explain ‘Why we de-ratified LMSS’.
The first reason the Guild gives for its decision is in relation to concerns raised in 2014 about proposed scripts for the society’s Smoker event, which is said to have included jokes that were inappropriate and offensive regarding extremely sensitive topics. The complaints lead to an investigation into the society by the Guild and the University, resulting in an action plan that the Guild says was agreed with LMSS officers.
However, in their statement the Guild says “Despite our best efforts, by late 2015 there were still significant parts of the action plan that were not being met. Many of the agreed recommendations had not been met despite the University extending deadlines and the Guild offering numerous opportunities to engage.”
The Guild then goes on to say that the particular issue not being resolved with LMSS was the society’s holding of events that could appear to ‘encourage gender segregation.’
According to the Guild:
“Following the release of the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on gender segregation for universities and students’ unions, the Guild sought specific legal advice, so we could comply with the law while facilitating society activity. Following this, the Guild and the University advised LMSS that they should not hold separate Men’s and Ladies’ Dinners. We shared the guidance with them and advised that if they felt the nature of the event exempted them from the legislation, we would be willing to discuss that and seek further advice if necessary. Subsequently LMSS advised us that the events were not gender segregated, and so we did not explore the possibility of exemptions further. Despite the reassurances that the events were not gender segregated, concerns were raised that the nature of the events had not changed from previous years.“
In addition to this, the Guild has also said that LMSS ‘appeared unwilling to adhere to Guild financial procedures.‘
To conclude their statement, the Guild assured the students of the University that;
“We remain committed to supporting and developing our wide-range of societies who offer valuable opportunities to our students. We are really pleased that we’ve received positive feedback from our students over the last few days concerning the action we’ve taken. We are really committed to upholding the values of the Guild and being part of a forward thinking and inclusive community. We have over 200 societies that adhere to, and promote our values on a daily basis and they are amongst our strongest ambassadors. This includes a further 26 medical-related societies who will continue to receive the support of the Guild. We will be working with the School of Medicine and its students in helping to create a new society that is open and inclusive to all students.”