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Tuesday 2 September 2014

University shuts down college society over alleged ‘homophobic’ leaflets

Caroline Crawford

Published 05/12/2013 | 10:56

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NUI Galway
NUI Galway

A THIRD level institution has suspended a college society over complaints about alleged homophobic activities.

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The National University of Ireland, Galway suspended the Legion of Mary after the distribution of controversial leaflets around the campus.

The leaflets, from the Courage Community group, promoted what it described as a Purity Matters Initiative.

It invited people with same sex attractions to “move beyond the confines of the homosexual label” by developing “an interior life of chastity”.

A statement on the leaflets continued; “I'm a child of God, don't call me gay.”

The initiative was in conjunction with the NUIG Legion of Mary society, according to the leaflets.

The University Societies Coordination Group met on Tuesday to review the matter. This was initiated by Dr Pat Moran, the Vice-President for the Student Experience following complaints.

This meeting resulted in the immediate suspension of the Legion of Mary society. It has now been removed from the University's website.

A statement from the university said NUIG has a “pluralist ethos” and would not condone the production and dissemination of any material by students which discriminates against other students.

It added that the Legion of Mary had apologised for any distress caused adding that “it was not their intention to offend or upset any person or group of people."

“Discrimination or implied or direct harassment, on the basis of sexual orientation and /or religion, is contrary to Irish and European law.

“The Vice-President for the Student Experience initiated a process of enquiry to review the actions of the Society in question in the context of the University code of conduct, the University policy on harassment and Irish and European equality law,” read the NUI, Galway statement.

“The University Societies Coordination Group met on Tuesday 3rd December, and suspended the Society named the NUIG Legion of Mary with immediate effect. NUI Galway is committed to protecting the liberty and equality of all students and does not condone such behaviour,” it added.

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