Blog post

"Tawdry institutional pandering"-University of London refused to host Žižek-Assange event

Tamar Shlaim15 July 2011

The Institute of Education, part of the University of London, refused to host the conversation between Slavoj Žižek and Julian Assange, which eventually took place at the Troxy in East London on 2nd July. 

The Institute initially expressed strong interest in hosting the event, and starting to make logistical arrangements, before having a sudden change of heart. In an email the head of conferences wrote: 

An email...informed Frontline: "There are ongoing issues concerning wi-fi access and the provision of a bar for your visitors, the first of which I feel may be too difficult to resolve at our end.

"This - and the fact that the meeting's subject is of a nature which may attract considerable controversy - obliges me to inform you at this stage in the proceedings that we cannot offer hire of the Logan Hall on this occasion."

Assange, who has been on strict bail conditions...for over six months, was informed that the IOE had declined to hire the Logan Hall for the 2 July event on the grounds that it "may attract considerable controversy".

He said in response: "This is how everyday political censorship works in the United Kingdom, not jackboots at the door, but through tawdry institutional pandering.

On the day, there was no disruption whatsoever. The 1800 attendees waited patiently outside, and the closest there was to a heckle in the hall was when one man shouted from the balcony to ask for the mics to be turned up. The Troxy staff, used to hosting boxing matches, didn't bat an eyelid. But apparently you can't be too careful... 

See the Frontline Club blog to read the full article.