The student union at the University of St. Mark and St. John has elected to ban the sale of orange juice with pulp, as a satirical swipe at rival institution Plymouth University’s decision to block the sale of tabloid papers such as the Daily Mail in the campus shop.
In the Marjon SU’s Facebook post, the statement claimed that the student union did not trust the students “to make up their minds on what drink they have.” The statement continued, digging at Plymouth University’s controversial decision by adding “They buy a bottle of bitty orange juice and they like it so much that they only buy bitty orange juice for the rest of their life… we simply cannot allow our students to be converted into bitty orange juice drinkers.”
Plymouth University followed several other universities in their decision to remove tabloids such as the Daily Express, The Sun and the Daily Mail as these publications have been accused of the denigration of various people in society, such as immigrants, the disabled, and other typically marginalised groups.
The Marjon SU’s decision has been well received by students at the university, who have joined in the top bants on Twitter. Student Ed Surtees included the hashtag ‘#PreJuiceDice’ in his response to the decision.
There has been rising tension as to the question of freedom of speech and information versus the right to no-platforming (refusing to host the messages of certain groups or persons), and this has been only the most recent event in a long and contentious series of clashes. Advocates for the banning of inflammatory publications such as these claim that the prevention of spreading hate messages and misinformation is more important than the right to freedom of expression; opponents of this, by contrast, believe in the unalienable right to voice ideas regardless of their potential effects. Plymouth University have defended their refusal to sell the tabloid publications, saying, “because of these very values that we hold and are proud of, we believe that it is unethical for us to profit out of the sale of hateful, non-factual and anti-scientific media platforms.”