The LGBTQ+ society at Goldsmiths university has been suspended and disassociated from the university’s Students’ Union after the group’s twitter account suggested people should be sent to a gulag.
The society tweeted a thread on Monday saying “why sending a bigot to one is actually a compassionate, nonviolent course of action” after defending another tweet suggesting someone should be sent to a gulag.
The gulags were created by the Soviet Union as labour camps where over one million people were killed.
The LBGTQ+ said: “So, gulags. First myth to debunk – you work until you die in gulags.
“The Soviets did away with life sentences and the longest punishment was 10 years. Capital punishment was reserved for the most heinous, serious crimes.
“Why? The penal system was a rehabilitatary one and self-supporting, a far cry from the Western, capitalist notion of prison.
“The aim was to correct and change the ways of criminals. If it couldn't be done in 10 years, it couldn't be done at all.
“Much like wider Soviet society, everyone who was able to work did so at a wage proportionate to those who weren't incarcerated and, as they gained skills, were able to move up the ranks and work under less supervision.
“Educational work was also a prominent feature of the Soviet penal system.
“There were regular classes, book clubs, newspaper editorial teams, sports and theatre groups.”
‘Containing offensive material’
Goldsmiths’ Students’ Union has issued a statement condemning the comments saying “they are in complete opposition to the views and values of the Students’ Union.”
It said: “Yesterday, Monday 10th September, a member of the LGBTQ+ Society with access to their Twitter account posted tweets containing offensive material. We condemn the abhorrent content of the tweets and they are in complete opposition to the views and values of the Students’ Union.
“The Society have broken multiple Union policies and procedures, including failing to adhere to our code of conduct, and we have issued multiple requests for the group to delete the tweets. As such, the Society have been suspended and disaffiliated from the Students’ Union, pending investigation.
“Societies are autonomous groups that operate with support of the Students’ Union, governed by our policies and procedures, but their views and behaviour is led by independent groups of students.
“Following this, we will ensure that there is other support in place for LGBTQ+ students, including those starting at Goldsmiths later this month, by building networks and facilitating events led by our LGBTQ+ staff and students.”
The twitter account for the LBGTQ+ Society has since been shutdown pending an investigation.