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Graduate hands back Oxford degree over Christian Concern conference

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  1. Frances Cairncross is a liar. What a pity Exeter LGBTs are such muppets and supported her. Join the protest against homophobia outside the gates of Exeter College at 1pm on 25th March and show them all what people in Oxford – students, Uni staff, and local people – think of “Christian Concern” bigots and those who host their private activities.

    1. Craig Denney 1 Mar 2012, 1:34pm

      I have seen in my area how some people from the LGBT community will brush under the carpet homophobia and will cross the line in the defence of the authorities for the guarantee of funding.

      They have sold themselves out for money!

    2. NB Why do you focus just on Christian Concern and not the Alliance Defense Fund, which has viciously attacked LGBT rights and antidisscimination law across the States? ADF has links to Focus on the Family, the late Jerry Falwell, American Family Association and funded by the founders of Blackwater (that supplied ‘security’ in Iraq). The ‘cure’ issue is the tip of the iceberg. Christian Concern fought bitterly to stop the Sexual Orientation Regulations in 2007, and oppose any recognition of LGBT people in law.

      I recall explicitly warning the previous editor of this publication about the Wilberforce Academy in 2011. Nobody followed it up, which was disappointing. Exeter is Martin Amis’s and Alan Bennett’s alma mater so I suggest you co-opt them if you can.

    3. Exeteralumnus 1 Mar 2012, 8:32pm

      Do you really think you know Frances Cairncross better than the LGBT students of Exeter College? I myself am a former Exeter student, and never have I been anywhere that was more accepting and welcoming to the LGBT community (of which I am a proud member). Of course Exeter’s decision to rent its facilities to this homophobic group is disgraceful, but having lived and studied at Exeter, I am certain that this gross oversight on the part of the College was absolutely nothing more than that.

      Protesting outside of Exeter is utterly pointless, as the people inside are already enormously supportive of the LGBT community, and just as disgusted by this “Christian Concern” group as you are. Unless you know Frances Cairncross personally, I don’t think you are in a position to disagree. We’re all on the same side here, so please don’t waste your energy protesting a strong LGBT ally, but instead protest groups that pose an actual threat to our community.

      1. Maybe so, Exeteralumnus

        However, Exeters decision to permit Christian Concern the access they have speaks of a lack of concern for LGBT people and a acquiescence to bigotry

    4. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 11:37am

      JudeG. Your post smacks of intolerance. As an Exeter LGBT student I take great offense to you calling me a muppet and to folllow up comments that claim that a statement of support for the college is motivated by a desire for funding! preposterous.
      Though I should not need to justify and defend myself against your virulent attack. I will do so because I think it is important to put this in perspective. My faith in Exeter as a welcoming place for LGBT students in no way contradicts my commitment to the fight for LGBT rights. I will participate in the protest against Christian Concern. I will flood them with emails. I will make it a personal mission to talk about this issue to ensure that people understand the danger that organizations like this present. In my everyday life, I participate in the fight for the extension of gay rights and for pushing the boundaries of discourse on these. I will condemn Christian Concern and organizations like it at every opportunity.
      But I do NOT believe

      1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 11:41am

        that Frances Cairncross is a liar. What has she been dishonest about? The college administration has be more than open to discussing this. Short of cancelling the conference, which is legally untenable at this stage, the college is doing everything within its power to redress the mistake. I would like to understand from all of you participating in this Exeter sledging match what you think, constructively, needs to be done. Can you think of a solution to this problem other than cancelling the conference.Let us please bring some sense into this debate

        1. What are they doing to redress the mistake?

          Will the entire conference be filmed and watched so that it can be immediately halted if these extremist bigots start inciting hatred against our community.

          That is the ONLY acceptable response to this conference.

          These people are extremist bigots who want to remove our human and civil rights.

          What has Cairncross done to ensure that such a conference is NEVER again held anywhere in Oxford?

    5. billywingarton 26 Mar 2012, 3:04am

      Not5ice how they talk about love and compassion for everyone – if you convert to str8.

      Little different then in the middle ages when the catholic church mass murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews, because they wouldnt convert.

      Same dog droppings , different victims.

      BTW they are also playing the same old game of claiming victimhood, while in fact they are the victimizers

      Reminds me of Paul JOseph Goebbels, who said “if you tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough, it will be seen as the truth..

  2. Craig Denney 1 Mar 2012, 1:25pm

    “facing our society”

    Your society is dwindling and congregations will not be dead in 20 years, they will be dead by the end of ‘this’ year.

    1. Agreed.

      The LGBT community already knows that religious belief and poisonous bigotry go hand in hand (those tiny irrelevant cults like the Quakers are the exception that proves the rule).

      The best way to damage these hateful cults is to inform the wider world that religious belief is incompatible with support for democracy and human rights (at least while these vicious cults are blatantly ignoring requests to keep their poisonous beliefs within their cult buildings).

    2. Craig Denney 1 Mar 2012, 2:04pm

      After the Pope’s controversial visit to Germany last year 181,000 German Catholics and 150,000, Protestants left the churches in Germany, that’s 331,000 people leaving in on year!

      So all we have to do is keep the controversy going here (Gay Marriage) for as long as possible and soon the homophobes in the Christian church will be finished.

      No decent people go to Church any-more. Churches are filled with die-hards extremists and children who would rather be somewhere else.

      1. Likewise in Finland. The poisonous homophobia of the Lutheran church there caused record defections from that cult.

  3. Why is Oxford Universityallowing its reputation to be damaged by being linked to these neo-fascist cult groups.

    These cult groups are allowed believe whatever they like but their attempts o pervert democracy, human rights and civil rights are truly obscene.

    These cultists really don’t get it do they?

    Why do they find it so impossible to keep their grotesque beliefs within their cult buildings?

    Why do they insist on poisoning society by advocating in favour of their horrific bigotry in public.

    1. Brave and principled decision from Michael Amherst. I’m sure many of us will support his stand against bigotry and the willingness of Exeter College, Oxford to be associated with fundamentalist homophobic bigotry. I am not sure many of us would have returned a degree!

      Exeter College, Oxford should be ashamed of themselves. Clearly they value finances more than they value gay people! Clearly human rights aren’t something Exeter College think trump money. Theyre a nice to have rather than a prerequisite for moral society.

      Christian Concern have strong links to the Campign for Marriage which in turn has links to another extreme religious organisation the Christian Institute. Interestingly the C4M seems ashamed of its religious roots and determined to claim it is non-religious (which is am obvious abre faced lie!).

      1. Typo – apologies –

        which is an obvious bare faced lie (is what I meant to type!)

      2. It may not be that C4M is ashamed of its religious roots, but rather learned the lesson taught by the Mormons in their massive campaign against Proposition 8 in California. They specifically underplayed the Mormon involvement, presenting a ‘coalition of concerned citizens’, despite the fact that the Mormons of Utah – miles away from California, contributed $100m to the campaign. It seems to be the blueprint for similar Christian campaigns worldwide where they actively underplay the religious agenda. Well worth watching this :

        1. Maybe so, Mark.

          So the options are they tell the truth or they lie.

          If they deny their religious roots then they lie.

          They evidence strongly points to their religious roots.

          They lie then they have lost the argument (in terms of integrity).

          In terms of humanity – they lost it long ago.

  4. well done , we need to stand up everyday to the religious freaks

  5. Wow – a man of priciples indeed.

  6. This is the kind of person in the gay community that we should all look at as a role model.
    Oxford is now the kind of university that all of the LGBT community should be abandoning. These gay students at Oxford conforming are a disgrace – I find it embarrassing that even members of our own community are turning against us.
    I can just Christian Concern reading that LGBT students have backed Oxford and laughing at how easy it was to break them.

    1. just IMAGINE Christian Concern**

    2. studentatoxford 1 Mar 2012, 3:16pm

      I don’t understand what you mean. Oxford is a great place to be LGBTQ (this conference notwithstanding). Everyone here is up in arms about this. I am hurt that you are calling me a ‘disgrace’. Please could you tell me what I am doing that is disgraceful?

      1. Why is the conference going ahead then?

        It is completely unacceptable for these extremists to be given a plafform like this.

        As for the PATHETIC excuse ‘It would be illegal to cancel it at this late stage’.

        Well so what – the conference should never have been allowed in the 1st place, so is is completely unacceptable to endanger the LGBT population just to avoid Exeter getting sued.

      2. You’re allowing a bunch of people to come in and do a conference, knowing that they’re completely against you have any civil rights.

    3. studentatoxford 1 Mar 2012, 4:14pm

      The people who are upvoting this person, please explain why you think I am disgraceful. I work hard every day to maek sure that LGBTQ students are represented and that their needs are met. If you have anything to say about Oxford, SAY IT.

      1. Was it you that wrote that silly, arse-licking statement that is currently posted by LGBTQ reps on Exeter’s website? – eg – “Thus, from our perspective, the article mentioned above entirely misunderstands and misinterprets Exeter’s position on the question of the rights and dignity of LGBTQ students. It takes the incident of the Wilberforce Academy out of context, without an understanding of the process that has led up to this point, and misjudges the college on the basis of these isolated facts.”

        Even if not, maybe the courageous action of Michael Amherst and the comments on this story might encourage you to think bigger and develop a more inclusive outlook on LGBT issues than the ‘we look after our own’ approach that you are currently running with here. Yes, you do have it good behind those gates, a lot better than most of us. Please don’t make it worse for us by criticising those who represent the voices of non-student LGBTs and are trying to make sure that our needs are met

        1. studentatoxford 1 Mar 2012, 5:58pm

          I did not write that. I have only condemned Exeter’s decision, and am involved in organising a protest. We are engaging and coordinating with other Oxford based groups, not just students.

          I’m upset with the comment as it paints Oxford as an unpleasant place to be LGBTQ, which is not the case. Studying at Oxford is, as you say, a great opportunity, and I do not want LGBTQ prospective students being put off applying, and thus losing this opportunity.

          1. A protest is entirely inadequate and you know it.

            Anything less than the full cancellation of this extremist conference is inadequate.

            I don’t care whether cancellatiion is now ‘illegal’ – if this conference goes ahead, Oxford is openly stating that they are defending homophobia.

        2. studentatoxford 1 Mar 2012, 7:19pm

          My comment isn’t showing so sorry if this is a duplicate.

          I did not write that. I have only condemned Exeter’s decision, and am involved in organising a protest. We are engaging and coordinating with other Oxford based groups, not just students.

          I’m upset with the comment as it paints Oxford as an unpleasant place to be LGBTQ, which is not the case. Studying at Oxford is, as you say, a great opportunity, and I do not want LGBTQ prospective students being put off applying, and thus losing this opportunity.

        3. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 11:29am

          I was one of the people who wrote that statement. I continue to stand by Exeter College fully on this issue because more than anywhere else perhaps in the University Exeter has made it extremely comfortable to be an gay student. I refuse to accept this virulent attack on Exeter College which is unconstructive at best and alienates an LGBT ally at worst by ascribing the worst intentions to an honest mistake.
          At the same time I am also one of the people who stands strongly opposed to an infringement of LGBT rights and spend a significant proportion of my time at Oxford lobbying the networks that I am a part of to constantly push the boundaries of LGBT issues in the public discourse. I am currently lobbying the Department of International Development to give a greater place to the discussion of LGBT issues in its Development Studies program. I will also be participating actively in the protest against Christian Concern (not Exeter College) as I too am abhored by the role that they play

          1. only an official apology by exeter would make this mistake look honest

          2. @Exeter Student

            Fantastic to see you protesting against Christian Concern.

            But do you not accept that Exeter College must have lax procedures if they believe associaitng with such an ignorant and discriminatory organisation as Christian Concern is acceptable and that this is at a total dichotomy to the image you portray of LGBT relations at Exeter. Effectively in terms of perception, one act cancels the otehrs out.

            Do you not also accept that having had the concerns raised with them that continuing with the booking on financial (arbitarily referred to as contractual) concerns suggests that money is taking precedence over valuing LGBT people?

          3. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:37pm

            I just spend 30 mins posting a response to spaggoi and Stu. Its disappeared. I will muster up courage to do so again later. annoying.

          4. Look forward to reading it later when you get the time to post.

            Maybe copy it onto a clipboard before trying to post next time ;-) just in case!

          5. This conference must be cancelled and an apology issued for allowing it to be held.

            Anything less is confirmation that Oxford is a university which welcomes and tolerates homophobic extremism.

            This conference is the equivalent of allowing the BNP to hold their annual event on campus.

  7. Yes, Michael Amherst is a genuine hero. I made a formal complaint against Oxford University – a publicly-funded body – about this appalling situation and will certainly join the demo on the 25th. I am not a member of the University but feel strongly as a local resident and a taxpayer that welcoming this dubious organisation to Oxford is a disgrace to the whole city, not just gown but town too.

    The right of the group to express its views is not in question. Oxford has, in fact, one of the most appropraite platforms for them to do just this – the Oxford Union. There, a balanced debate on LGBT equality could reasonably be staged. Nick Griffin spoke there a while ago. Would Exeter, I wonder, host a private conference of the BNP? No, of course not.

    I do not agree that “religious belief and poisonous bigotry go hand in hand”. First Sunday, one of Oxford’s most vibrant LGBT groups, is a shining example to the whole world that this is not the case.

  8. Would be interesting to see what the response of OXford University corporately is, or Martina Amis or Alan Bennett, or whether Christian Concern have any comment to make …

  9. Williams said “Homosexuals are displaying an extraordinary intolerance for us and freedom of thought”

    and i suppose christian treatment of people like Galileo was all about extraordinary tolerance and encouragement of freedom of thought

    1. Keith Farrell 1 Mar 2012, 2:43pm

      I dont think they know what intolerance or freedom of thought are, they have never shown any of these, what they have shown us is that we are slowly winning the war against biggots by their fear of us

    2. That comment from her is laughable really isn’t it? She has the gall to say that and yet she is spouting her religous dogma and homphobia at every given opportunity!

    3. Playing the “help help I’m a victim” card is in the play book of the church that has abused, violated, tortured and tormented people for generations. It would be funny, if it didn’t make me want to puke.

  10. A very principled action by Michael Amherst, he is a hero.

    Unfortunately, the odious Andrea Minichiello Williams is the UK face of the anti-gay US Alliance Defense Fund.
    They employ litigation to oppose gay rights and to generate manufactured controversy and publicity in an effort to gain legal privileges for themselves and other extreme Christians they are allied to.

    The Christian Legal Centre is fronted by Andrea Minichiello Williams and their UK lawyers are trained by US organisation the Alliance Defence Fund. which also has close links with Ms Williams and the Wilberforce Academy which now trains people up to further an extremist Christian Dominionist agenda in UK.

    Andrea Minichiello Williams, also fronts Christian Concern and sits on the Anglican Synod as a lay member.

    So we have in Andrea Minichiello Williams A very motivated anti-gay activist who has Christian Dominionist ambitions for the UK.

    1. In reports I was reading when checking out the murky background of the coalition for marriage of which Minichiello Williams is a driector, I saw her described as the Queen of the Homophobes in the UK.

      She certainly does look like she is modelling herself on the demented right wing fundamentalist extremists from the USA. Her and her compatriots at the Christian Legal Centre, Chrisitian Institute, CARE etc had set up a very UNGODLY mafia type network which refuses to allow itself to be held to scrutiny and denies fundamental truths about itself. It lies. It is also funded by a couple of millionaires in the North East (and others – although the CI is reluctant to admit this). I would be very surprised if Sir Peter Vardy and perhaps Jonathan Ruffer were not involved in this murky mess somewhere.

    2. Father Ted 1 Mar 2012, 4:36pm

      She was far from impressive in the tv documentary about them, and their key barrister repeatedly criticised by judges in court. They are a sad, small organisation, but using this issue to attract more people, and using an Oxford college to look more intellectual and mainstream than they are by a mile.

      The guy returning his degree is a hero, and has more principle than the college administrators.

      1. Everything I see of Minichello Williams speaks of cheap, fake and deluded!

      2. Sure, she’s tacky and viciously anti-gay and prejudiced, her arguments are piss poor but she has powerful support and is very determined and single minded with no qualms about misrepresenting reality to push her dominionist agenda, views any publicity as good publicity and an opportunity to manufacture controversy.

      3. If you are referring the brilliant Dispatches: In Gods Name, yes, I can imagine that Ms Williams watched much of it through her fingers. She was actually one of the more calm and obliging individuals that took part and she still had her inept debate skills exposed, fumbling for an answer then asking for the filming to stop when asked a question about the age of the Earth and defiantly turning off her radio mike when a comment about Islam was quoted back to her. This woman is a lawyer who wants to shape UK laws for goodness sake! In another funny scene she could be heard asking for the more eccentric Christians to be kept away from the cameras during a protest.

    3. Mary Marriott 2 Mar 2012, 1:25pm

      Ms Williamses organisations are vile cancers..

      But it is clear to anyone who meets her that she is an irrational hysteric, and disgrace to Christianity.

      Amherst is one hell of a mensch for sure !

      The views of anti-gay types must be on the wane surely ?

  11. My thoughts exactly @ Rehan. Maybe other people and organisations will follow?

  12. God Bless him for taking a stand against Christian oppression. God created us all equal. I am a bisexual Christian and it is time that my religion of love stop the people who are behind their Christian hate campaign against minorities and stop giving us good Christians a bad name just because they have some mental problems they need help with. Us good Christians need to take back our religion that has been hijacked by terrorist in our own Christian Religion.

    1. Mary Marriott 2 Mar 2012, 1:28pm

      hey paul ! you speak my mind

    2. I am a ‘christian’ I am Bisexual, I fell in love with a man married and have daughters I raised to accept LOVE in all its forms, I do NOT possess the desire or right to condemn anyone, BUT when I attended exeter collage last week to drop my daughter off at the seminar I was met with judgmentalisim anger and accusations by people who know NOTHING about who I am or my belief system, I can tell u in all honesty I was repulsed by the female I spoke to and her attitude as she laughed because I ‘have gay friends’ I didnt get to exlovers or the relatives part how in hell does anyone gain acceptance with prejudgementalism?
      my daughter asked me how I can defend such arrogant and bigotted people. I defend the rights of gay men and women because GOD gives us all free will and I respect your right to choose to be and to flourish JUST as passionatly as I defend my own rights …. my 1st gay pride march was in 1985 I protested age of concent ‘FAIRNESS!’

  13. Od perhaps that Ms Cairncross can’t actually bring herself to spell out the words lesbian, gay, transgender etc …

  14. What a great guy. A man with integrity.

  15. Michael Amherst has taken a strong stand and drawn a line in the sand. Good for him

  16. Freedom of speech?

    1. But this is a PRIVATE event!!!! It is not a public debate. It is the tacit support offered by Oxford University by welcoming this group to the city, hosting their private deliberations, and allowing them to use prestigious Oxford University imagery and rhetoric on their promotional materials that is all wrong. Let these people speak all they like – intelligent people will soon learn just how intellectually and spiritually vacant they are. Most people would agree that Oxford could accommodate their voices in debates on LGBT equality or on issues pertaining to theology and sexuality in numerous forums but it should not support the private activities of extremist organisations of any kind in the way that it is with this group.

  17. Michael Amherst has principles and those vile christians – in spite of what their babble tells them – have none.

    Notice how when the religious are criticised the word militant is applied: militant homosexuals, militant atheists…

    1. Opposing Christian fundie ideals – ‘militant’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘political correctness’.

      Christian fundies doing the opposing – ‘principles’, ‘values’ and ‘exercising conscience’.

  18. Exeter College + Ku Klux Klan = $$$

  19. “Given Exeter College’s strong record in protecting the rights and dignity of its gay and lesbian members”
    by giving a platform to homphobes to spread their hatred for LGBT people?
    Thank you Mrs. Cairncross.

  20. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 11:49am

    I’d like to understand. What is it that Amherst wants done? And also everyone else who thinks Exeter isnt doing what it needs to do….What do you think needs to be done? At this point of time cancelling the conference is legally untenable. Exeter would be liable for breach of contract and would most likely be sued.
    Instead of cancelling, Exeter has taken the following steps:
    1. Reiterating its support for its LGBT community and reaffirming the fact that it stands for equality and diversity
    2. Making clear to Christian Concern, Exeter’s own views on the issues of diversity and asking that this be made clear in its communication
    3. Setting up a body with student and staff participation to come up with a coherent policy to ensure that this does not happen again.

    What would you suggest the college should do? I am curious to hear some constructive suggestions rather than this mud slinging

    1. apologise

      1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:09pm

        The college has put in place measures to ensure that something like this does not happen again. It has also expressly said that it does not in any way endorse the views of Christian Concern. It has also made its stance on these issues clear to Christian Concern. It has also expressly reiterated its commitment to its own LGBT staff and students. These steps are in every way more substantive a redress than saying “I’m sorry” because it reflects a commitment to fixing the problem. Could she also have said ‘I’m sorry’? Sure. Should she have? Maybe. Does the fact that she hasn’t make Exeter culpable in homophobia? No.

        1. Its good to hear the measures taken.

          Exeter College have not admitted they got this wrong or apologised though. They appear arrogant with the apology, and appear to undermine the work you state they have done to celebrate diversity.

          1. arrogrant without the apology

            apologies for typo!

        2. Exeter College clearly cares more about not being sued than the health and safety of its LGBT student population.

          Exeter College is a homophobic disgrace.

          This conference needs to be cancelled immediately.

          If the college gets sued then too bad. The LGBT population cannot be put in danger to protect Exeter.

          1. And the fact that Cairncross is also refusing to even apologise for this punch in the face to the LGBT population, shows the contempt in which she holds our community.

            I think she needs to be fired as she is clearly not fit for purpose for this position.

    2. Have you asked Amherst what he thinks should be done, given the points you raise?

      1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:09pm

        Good point. I will do that. Thanks

    3. Are you saying Amherst was wrong in taking his principled stance?

      Have Exeter College included a contractual obligation in their hire agreements to diversity and other issues? My mother is chair of a community group and there are clauses in their contracts which require those hiring to comply with diveristy, health and safety and child protection policies of the community group (amongst other things). If Exeter College have not done this they are remiss. If they havent efforts need to be made to rectify this to prevent similar embarrassment in the future.

      Exeter College also need to apologise for not considering the impact of the hirer and taking measures to make sure that they neither bring the name of the college into disrepute (which clearly has happened by this connection to Christian Concern) and for failing to consider the impact their decisions could have on LGBT people in the College and further afield.

      Has Exeter College asked Christian Concern to withdraw from the hire?

      1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:17pm

        “Are you saying Amherst was wrong in taking his principled stance?”- No. It is not my place to pass judgement on his passion or his principles. I respect that he feels so strongly. Do I think it is the most helpful approach and that he is mistaken in the direction in which he is casting his ire? Yes. Absolutely. By making such a strong statement against Exeter college, one is actually painting a misinformed picture about who is the villain of the piece.

        I am not sure of the exact contractual details. However, to the best of my understanding, the college’s legal advisors have recommended that the college does not have very many effective options for cancelling the conference. I do have complete faith in the college administration who have proved time and again to be aligned with the principles of equality and diversity especially with respect to sexual orientation. Given their track record, I think the very least that they earn is my faith that they would not actively deceive the LGBT

        1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:21pm


          “If Exeter College have not done this they are remiss. If they havent efforts need to be made to rectify this to prevent similar embarrassment in the future.” Absolutely. A working committee has been set up with student and staff representation to discuss this very matter and attempt to rectify this and prevent future embarrassment. The meeting will be held next week. What I think is crucial is that we recognize that the absence of a clear policy on filtering of conference requests ACROSS Oxford University. This issue is not specific to Exeter and could have happened anywhere.

          1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 2:26pm

            Exeter College was not aware of the track record of Christian Concern on these contentious issues. These matters were not included in the description of the conference in the request and the college did not have a policy of running background checks on organizations sending in conference requests. Thus the effective question is whether Exeter took steps neccesary to express solidarity with the LGBT community AFTER the matter came to light post contract signing. And the answer to that question is that they did.

            Lastly. I am not sure if the college has expressly asked CC to cancel the conference. However, they have let the organization know of the controversy that this has generated and reiterated Exeter’s own commitment to diversity and equality

          2. I am sure there is some clause somewhere in the contract you signed with those homophobic extremists that ban incitement to hatred against other people.

            A refusal to cancel this conference is a declaration of war by Oxford University against its LGBT population.

            Make no mistake about that.

        2. Well could it not be that they are embarrassed that they made a severe error of judgement in this one. Their lack on contrition in it is telling. They say they are changing things to prevent it happening again, yet not admitting they have (at best) made a mistake. They need to apologise for that at the very least.

          You asked for some suggestions. Ensure the rental agreements of the College are watertight for diversity, child protection, health and safety and the like; might be a useful starting point … but overall an acceptance that they have made a collosal error of judgement (if they hadnt they wouldnt have to take remedial action to prevent a recurrance now would they?)

        3. Student, would your college rent space to a racist, anti semitic, or other organisation who hold bigoted views for another minority group? And if not, why rent it to a homophobic group who have consistently attempted to stop equality legislation. The idea that they don’t make these checks is absurd. They do, it’s just that the checks didn’t take account of homophobia, which proves someone in your college has made a homophobic judgement.
          So, whoever is responsible for allowing this bigoted group to speak must be held accountable. I do not care that it would not be legally viable to cancel the event. Your college may be taken to court, but that is what happens when you make mistakes. Pay your fine. The student the story is about obviously holds deeper respect for equality than your college does. Your college’s excuse for not cancelling the conference does not make it acceptable, but merely proves that they are in fact homophobic. Their actions are transparent to me.

          1. Oxford clearly does not regard homophobia as seriously as racism or anti-semitism though

            That much is crystal clear.

    4. JakeThePeg 2 Mar 2012, 3:08pm

      another idea would be to turn the sour money sweet and donate the fees you are receiving from the freaks to stonewall

    5. @Exeter Student

      It appears reading through your comments and the other reports about this matter that Exeter College have made an error in allowing this conference to be held on their premises. Its clear that Exeter are in the unfortunate position of being the college where this has occurred, as there is the potential for this to have happened in any of the Oxford colleges.

      I do think that if the management of Exeter have accepted that there is a need to review what has gone wrong then an apology for the error (in addition to promises that LGBT people are supported and efforts will be made to prevent a reoccurance) would go a long way to building bridges with those within OXford and further afield who are disappointed by events at Exeter College. Asking CC to move the conference or cancel it would also be a good move for the College authorities to make, and commenting publically that CC have been asked and agreed/refused would demonstrate that the management are exploring all …

      1. … available options.

        Exeter College whether through misfortune or mismanagement (or a combination) are in a difficult position and they need to demonstrate they can turn a bad situation into a good one.

        Apologies help. Preventing it happening again makes it look a little better. Trying every option to prevent the issue happening makes the commitments being talked about seem more real. If there is finance coming from the event, then donating that to an LGBT organisation (such as suggested by JakethePeg) at least makes it seem that the College were not just interested in the cash and forgetting LGBT people. Thats the perception that has to be addressed.

        If its helpful the community association I mentioned has on their booking form a requirement for users to sign to say they will abide by the community associations child protection, health and safety, diversity and environmental policies. They are directed to PDF files detailing these policies. It is explained to them that …

      2. … in the event they breach any of these policies then in additional to referral to the relevant authorities (eg police/social services in a child protection matter) that penalties may be imposed in the form of further charges which will be invoiced and termination of any future bookings and suspension of access or permanent expulsion from using the associations facilities.

        Perhaps Exeter could adopt a similar approach?

        Just trying to be helpful.

        1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 3:35pm

          Stu. Thank you very much for this. Your suggestion is very constructive. I will come back on some of your other points maybe later today after I get through much needed work…but in the meanwhile the college already does require conferences to abide by the college’s diversity policies which are provided. The organization has to, as far as I understand, sign that it will not use the colege in a way that contradicts this policy. I am not sure about what redressal is included in the policy. And I will definitely look into that. The other question I guess is whether this then applies to all views expressed by this organziation even outside the specific event for which the college is used. So if CC doesnt say anything homophobic during the conference but its leaders continue to fight against gay rights in the wider public sphere then can the contract ever cover something like that. This is certainly something that requires a grounded and sensible discussion.

          1. Exeter Student 2 Mar 2012, 3:36pm

            In any case. I appreciate your suggestion. This is very much the kind of constructive discussion that I had hoped this situation would launch.
            I also agree that when sentiments are hurt apologies could go a long way. But I think that imputing the worse intentions to an organization that just seems to have poor PR is not that helpful.
            Ok more later.

    6. “At this point of time cancelling the conference is legally untenable. Exeter would be liable for breach of contract and would most likely be sued.”

      Tough s*** – Exeter should have thought of that already.


      What you are effectively saying in your comment is that Exeter’s finances are more important to Oxford than the safety of its LGBT population.

      If that is the case then you are telling barefaced lies about Oxford’s so-called gay friendliness and as a university it should be avoided.

      This conference is no different from inviting the BNP to hold their national conference at Exeter.

      I also think that this Cairncross woman is a disgrace to Exeter and should be removed from her job.

    7. If it does go ahead, it would be good if Exeter flew the rainbow flag for the duration of the weirdos’ conference (25th-30th March). Your flag was conspicuous by its absence on the last day of LGBT History Month when many others (Balliol, Hertford, Jesus, Keble, Mansfield, New, Regent’s, Wadham, etc.) raised the flag in unison for the whole day. If what you say about Exeter’s supposed “support for its LGBT community” and that “it stands for equality and diversity” is true, why didn’t Exeter join in for that event?

      1. Thats a fantastic idea, DrH

        It was good to see the rainbow flag over some colleges in Oxford during LGBT history month.

        If the concert goes ahead then Exeter should make a clear visible stance that LGBT people matter. What better way to do it corporately than by flying the rainbow flag.

        1. Correction … conference not concert … although it could be argued CC are all about performance …;-)


    I noticed Dr Christopher Shell is commenting on the article – a previous fundie poster here on PN.

    I don’t understand why it appears some ‘christians’ seem to have made it their life’s work to seek to persecute others. It speaks volumes about their own sense of worth.

    I hope the conference can be cancelled somehow. I still can’t fathom how it was allowed in the first place. Surely checks are routine to avoid just this kind of issue?

    1. Dr Christopher Shell 9 Mar 2012, 9:20am

      Hi Iris,
      ‘fundie’ is a lazy stereotype. I probably got awards in a wider range of topics than any of my Oxbridge contemporaries.

  22. you are very brave and principled sir and have my ultimate respect

  23. you really are a hateful asshole –

    You represent the greatest argument for mercy killings!

  24. There appears to be a very poor understanding at Exeter about the difference between what constitutes the reasonable pursuit of the different diversity strands (including sexual orientation and belief/nonbelief) as required by niceness and the Equality Act of 2010 and what constitutes support for a socio-political cause. Surely this is something that Oxford should be leading the way on, not making international headlines for getting wrong (which Exeter have unquestioningly done here).

    The problem is not confined to Exeter though. Although it was good to see so many colleges raising the rainbow flag on the last day of LGBT History Month this year, some of the arguments made by those who rejected the proposal really left much to be desired.

  25. Contd…

    According to the Cherwell, authorities at Pembroke – home to a lovely chapel btw – told their LGBTQ rep that “raising the LGBT flag would promote inequality by privileging the rights of one group over another” and, bizarrely, that Pembroke would not give in to “the tyranny of the majority.”

    The rainbow flag is a bog-standard tool for promoting the sexual orientation diversity strand. It is different from, say, a Stonewall campaign poster (which could still find a home at Oxford on a LGBTQ notice board) just as the existence of a vibrant Christian community in a college is different from a campaign by right-wing Christian fanatics to ‘cure’ LGBTs and deny us equal rights (yes, definitely nutty enough for the Oxford Union).

    If anything good is to result from this current fiasco, a University-wide training programme for staff – all of whom are public servants – on basic e&d skills would be a good place to begin.

  26. ‘… militant homosexual lobby who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion and who seek to coerce behaviour and thought’

    Rich coming from a religious zealot who spends her life urging the government to block this, that and the other because it is against the Bible and give Christians ‘freedom of conscience’ privilege in the workplace.

    1. billywingarton 26 Mar 2012, 3:10am

      they are simply claiming they are the victims when they are the victimizer
      Standard xtian trick

      lets not lose sight of the big pix though – marriage is all about respect for all loving couples.

      Win that one and most of hte rest of the Jesus freaks bs will go hte way of the rotten fish you throw in the garbage can on a hot day

  27. OxfordAgainstHomophobia 6 Mar 2012, 9:54am

    Exeter Student certainly made a noble effort at towing the company li[n]e . . . but disappeared when it ran out!!

    The loopies have held conferences at Exeter before (here is the flyer for their 2011 conference – – note that it states that the event ‘will again be hosted’ at Exeter College).

    How far does this go? Are members of Exeter members of Christian Concern? Cairncross should come clean about her college’s full involvement with the creepy people. If she stubbornly refuses to fully disassociate herself and Exeter from their activities (an official apology being a requisite here), then the authorities at Oxford should remove her from her position of responsibility.

    1. keanureeves(inmydreams) 6 Mar 2012, 6:21pm

      you can’t blame exeter student for wanting to think the best of, and do the best for, her/his college / uni. i don’t think there is any big conspiracy here. core problem is the usual – dosh. oxford uni is black hole for the stuff. they don’t care where it comes from or who gets hurt in the process of the transaction. story of our times as far as i see it.

      1. OxfordAgainstHomophobia 8 Mar 2012, 7:23pm

        You’re right about the money angle but where there’s brass there’s usually muck and I think a lot of people are smelling one big stinking republican-money-arse-licking rat here.

        The first freakshow conference at Exeter was in spring 2010. Anything happen the previous winter that might account for its sudden appearance?

  28. I agree that this situation stinks of something much bigger and darker. You know, there is more Oxford University branding on the advertising for this ‘Wilberforce Academy’ than there is on advertising for courses run by the university’s own Dept. for Continuing Education. If this was an accident of some sort, university authorities would have sorted it out in a jiffy. They haven’t. In fact, their PR staff have been courting local LGBTs, attempting to manage, contain, and muffle dissenting voices much as has clearly been the case inside the university (yes, where did Exeter Student go?).

    I don’t think it is an ‘honest mistake’ as we have been led to believe. My prediction is that this review that the uni is undertaking will provide the flimflam to justify continued events of this nature, complete with university branding which their American backers are clearly demanding, and that Ms Williams and her flying monkeys will be back at Exeter next year with big, smug smiles on their faces

  29. Not Dwindling 5 Jun 2012, 6:06pm

    How pathetic. Graduates or students who do not support freedom of speech don’t deserve a degree anyway. If he is a gay bigot, good riddance to him.

  30. Not Dwindling 5 Jun 2012, 6:07pm

    Anyone who wishes and chooses to have therapy for any aspect of their private life has a moral right to do so. You should not be interfering.

    1. Billy wingartson 4 Aug 2012, 2:02am

      teh people who need the therapy are the people who deomize others in the name of God.

      And they are so identical to people with obsessive compulsive disorder, and inducable mental illness

      Too bad the world didnt have a coat hanger handy 2000 years ago when a woman was raped.

      And in a society where a raped woman was alwasy considered as it was her fault, she would have been whipped.

      Today this is what happens in eg Saudi land. BTW they sure dont like gays either.

  31. Billy wingartson 4 Aug 2012, 1:51am

    they claim they are not discriminating. If you follow there beliefs

    the history of much of xtianity is convert or perish.

    The only question is whether islams taught it to xtianity or the reverse.

    Either way millions were murdered for the cross – a symbol of torture and death worn by prob a billion people.

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