According to left-wing news site Evolve Politics, the University of Nottingham Conservative Association (NUCA) has entered into a “sponsorship agreement” with Daybrook Lodge as part of a wider scheme by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) to recruit university students.
In a Facebook post to a private member group, NUCA said: “As some of you may have seen we have recently acquired a sponsorship agreement with Daybrook lodge.
“This is to help spread the word about the Universities Scheme run by UGLE. This is a scheme to introduce anyone, male or female, who attends the University of Nottingham or Nottingham Trent University to Freemasonry.”
Nottingham Trent Conservatives (NTC) contacted RT to say it has had no involvement with the NUCA this academic year and has not received or solicited any form of sponsorship from freemasons.
"If we received invitations to join the freemasons we would not publish them in any medium. We do not encourage our members to take any interest in the freemasons," it said.
NUCA’s invitation to “anyone” neglects to mention the fact that Daybrook in Nottingham, like most masonic lodges, is a male-only organization.
A Conservative source who spoke to Evolve Politics slammed the partnership as “deeply worrying,” as it insinuates that the association is becoming the “total opposite of an inclusive society.”
The Universities Scheme is a “pioneering attempt” by UGLE to “help forge links between enthusiastic lodges and the many students and other young people who are seeking to become involved in freemasonry but do not know where to begin,” according to its website. It adds that “Freemasonry has always been about making good men better.”
Freemasonry can be viewed as an international organization with an estimated 200,000 members worldwide. It is the oldest and largest non-political organization in the world, whose members call each other ‘brothers’ or ‘brethren’. Sometimes confused or conflated with the Illuminati, Freemasons comprise a society that believes the universe has an architect, though Freemasonry is not considered a religion, nor are its lodges places of worship. It has been criticized for its secrecy and accused of serving the interests of its members over the those of the public.
Last week, UGLE said the Guardian had falsely accused it of operating clandestine lodges within Westminster. In an open letter posted on the Freemasonry Today website, UGLE Chief Executive David Staples called the misrepresentation of his group “discrimination.”
NUCA has previously hit headlines for holding a debate on campus about whether women who “dress provocatively” were more likely to be sexually assaulted.
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