BY Ryan McDougall | April 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

8-jamie

‘Free speech champion’ is pro-life Student of the Year

A student lawyer who fought for the affiliation of pro-life societies at two Glasgow universities has been hailed as ‘a true freedom-of-speech champion.’

Jamie McGowan, who is in his final year studying Law at Strathclyde University, spearheaded the university pro-life society’s legal battle to gaining affiliation, meaning they can apply for funding and have a presence at university events.

He later took his work to Glasgow University, where pro-life students faced a similar issue.

The Alliance of Pro-Life Students has now presented Mr McGowan with their Student of the Year award, stating he is ‘an inspiration to the pro-life movement’ and ‘a true freedom-of-speech champion.’

 

Unexpected

Mr McGowan said: “I didn’t expect this at all. I’d worked with them for a while on various things, but it never occurred to me that I was contributing so much in that way because I’ve always tried to work behind the scenes. I was really delighted.”

Mr McGowan said he got involved in the legal battle as he felt it was wrong for universities to censor ‘issues which are quite legitimate in society.’

 

Legal process

Describing the long legal process, he added: “It wasn’t easy. There was a lot of negotiation, research, legal stuff, and getting people together to establish a route out of it.

“Essentially, we realised the opposing side hadn’t really considered that they might have been breaking the law if they didn’t affiliate us. We’re delighted [with the result]—it was quite a difficult endeavour.”

 

‘Valid stance’

Mr McGowan said that he had received support from people in favour of abortion due to the dangerous precedent being set over free speech rights on campus.

“Being pro-life is a valid stance, and it’s important to hold debate. Most people on both sides would argue that’s important in order to find common ground,” he said.

 

Changing the pro-life landscape

Bernadette Waddelove, student support officer of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students, pictured with Mr McGowan above, said it’s always a hard decision to pick a Student of the Year as so many ‘work so tirelessly and deserve recognition.’

“But Jamie is extra special—he’s changed the landscape and fortunes of pro-life societies in Scotland by successfully spearheading the legal challenges against pro-life society bans in Glasgow and Strathclyde,” she said.

“I think of him as a true freedom-of-speech champion, not happy to stand by while the censorship unjustly reigns. It was an honour to recognise and thank him for all his hard work, and present him with his well-earned award!”

 

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