AUU Board officially denies the Occult Club registration.
Words by Grace Atta
The AUU Board has informed the Occult Club that their appeal on the Clubs Committee’s decision to deny them full registration, has been unsuccessful.
In his email to the Occult Club, the AUU President, Oscar Ong, wrote that the Board was ‘unable to reach a majority position in support of registration’.
Ong did not provide a reason for the Board’s decision, saying that as this matter was discussed in-camera, no such details could be given.
Occult Club President, Ashley Towner, says that the club is ‘deeply upset and hurt’ by the Board’s decision.
Towner says the AUU Board has furthered the ‘discriminatory actions of the Clubs Committee’ by basing their decision on ‘unfounded claims about absurd fantasies of devil-summoning and criminal activity’.
According to the Clubs Administration Policy clause 6.11, clubs can be denied full registration if they are:
- ‘substantially similar to a current registered club’;
- have ‘not complied with any applicable legislation, or rules or polices of the University’;
- or have ‘not complied with any applicable rules or policies of the AUU’.
Towner says that the Occult Club is not in violation of any of these clauses.
‘The Occult Club’s disaffiliation is but one instance among a broader culture of undemocratic attacks against students.’
‘The undemocratic values of the right are now culminating in Progress and the Young Liberals, Connect, [sic] cracking down on all the obvious targets of their right-wing culture war: us, the women’s collective, and the pro-choice club among others. Our disaffiliation is but one small part of a wider endemic issue within our union.’, says Towner.
A recap on events prior:
The AUU Board’s decision comes after the Occult Club were first denied full registration on May 12th during a Clubs Committee meeting.
The reason given for this denial was a letter of complaint which raised three concerns about this club, for Witches, Satanists, Occultists and Pagans.
These concerns were that the club has ‘plans to summon the Devil / Satan’, will be ‘involved in criminal activity’ and that their ‘mere existence’ would threaten other religious groups on campus.
Towner says that ‘all three of these accusations are entirely untrue and a ridiculous foundation on which to base our club’s rejection’.
‘The Occult Club has never been involved in, nor condoned any sort of criminal activity and absolutely zero evidence has been produced to suggest that we have.’
Additionally, Towner says the Occult Club ‘boasts diverse membership’, with students from various faiths.
A member from the Occult Club says that the group has been a space of acceptance and understanding.
‘I didn’t think I’d be able to find many or any like-minded alternative religious individuals. I’d gotten so used to having to hide my practices, or change my mannerisms in public because of fear of persecution by the misinformed.’
‘They’re [the Occult Club] accepting of EVERYONE despite our varying religious / spiritual / or non-theistic backgrounds. It’s a place to be heard. And to learn and to be accepted without judgement.’
What do the Occult Club do?
Over the last year, the club held monthly book club meetings and also Halloween related activities.
This included a Halloween party, which was run in collaboration with other clubs including the PRIDE, Sci-Fi club, totally cooked, GAMES club, and the Film Society.
Towner says that the Occult Club will not be able to run these events this year.
On Dit reached out to both the AUU President, Oscar Ong (Progress) and the Clubs Committee Chair, Luke Allen (Progress) regarding this story. However, both failed to respond by the deadline.