A BAN on selling The Sun newspaper at Leeds University has sparked a backlash among students.
The ban on the paper is a protest at the paper’s semi-nude daily Page 3 girl, which was described in a motion put to the students’ union as “degrading and dehumanising” to women.
However, another group of campaigning students have launched a counter-attack.
Members of Leeds Liberty League have called for the matter to be put to a referendum so that the university’s 30,000 students can vote on it.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, third-year politics student Natalia Oliver, 22, who founded the league two years ago, said: “I might not be a huge fan of The Sun but I believe in people having the freedom to do what they want. The women who appear on Page 3 are paid to do that and it may make some of them feel empowered. I don’t believe it’s our place to judge what other people do.
“We also do not think that banning The Sun in an education institution is the right way to go. That is why we are fighting to hold a referendum on the issue.
“There’s also the point that people can choose not to buy The Sun. Page 3 is not on the cover of the paper, it’s inside, so it’s not something which is thrust in your face, so to speak.
“We just think that if the paper is going to be banned then the entire student population should have a say in that. If we hold the referendum and it comes out that 55 per cent want to ban the sale of it, then fine, but at least people have had a proper say and the process has been democratic.
“University is not just an academic experience, but a personal journey, we should not be placed in a bubble of banned products. We deserve to be treated as adults who are free to make these decisions ourselves.”
Members of the liberty league have to collect 600 signatures in order to secure a referendum on the issue - they were due to find out today whether they had collected enough.
The Sun has been banned from sale on Leeds University’s campus since the end of November.
Leeds University is not the first to impose such a ban - around 20 other universities have also imposed bans because of Page 3, including Essex in October and Lincoln in November.