Curtin University’s Socialist Alternative Club faces the prospect of being de-registered after the behaviour of its members was put in the spotlight at the Guild Council annual general meeting this week.
Curtin University student Dylan Botica moved a motion against the club, claiming it acted inappropriately.
“[The club] has engaged in hostile and abusive behaviour towards students,” Mr Botica told the meeting.
“They are a political cult, they have a rigid belief system that is immune to falsification and do not take other people’s opinions to hand.
“They idolise deities such as Trotsky that has no relevance to anything at Curtin University.”
Mr Botica’s speech drew criticism from the Socialist Alternative Club, with representative Erin Russell taking to the stand to defend herself and her colleagues.
“I think to say that we abuse people is a very serious charge to make, and if we were abusive then we would have already known about it,” she said.
“You have turned a meeting [of] students asking what the Guild has been doing into throwing mud at us [and] hoping some of it will stick.”
Ms Russell also said Mr Botica’s motion was undemocratic, and undermined the freedom of expression that was encouraged at the university.
University of Queensland Political Science and International Studies Professor Katharine Gelber says the club’s right to freedom of speech is restricted if they act in an abusive manner.
“Freedom of speech is a core human right and is required in order to be able to exercise many other human rights,” she said.
“Having said that, it’s not unlimited and [cannot] interfere with other people’s human rights.
“Offending people or being rude is not necessarily a part of freedom of speech.”
The motion was later passed at the AGM, with 86 people for and 27 against.
Curtin Student Guild president Liam O’Neill said this wasn’t the first time the club had been warned about its actions.
“The club has received previous warnings from the guild for breaches of guild and university policy or by-laws,” he said.
Mr O’Neill said the guild council would now consider the matter at its June meeting.
“I will be consulting with the guild’s executive body and the clubs support staff before making a recommendation to council as to what to do,” he said.
Listen below to hear what other students at Curtin University had to say about the motion.