An atheist student society at London South Bank University has been banned from displaying posters at the University’s "refreshers fair" because they were deemed “offensive”. The South Bank Atheist Society’s poster featured the famous Creation of Adam fresco, in which God had been replaced by the satirical deity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (AHS) reports that initially a complaint was made because the fresco depicts Adam’s genitals, but when the Atheist Society offered to cover them the ban remained in place because the students’ union believed the poster would cause “religious offence”. The AHS also says that the Atheist Society’s stall was later removed from the fair. The President of the Atheist Society Cloe Ansari said: “Rather than included, we have been made to feel as an unwelcome minority of secularists.”

The AHS and the British Humanist Association (BHA) called the students’ union’s decision “utterly ridiculous” and part of “rising tide of frivolous censorship that is curtailing the legitimate activities of our members.”

AHS President Rory Fenton commented:

"This is beyond parody and it is not the first time one of our groups have had similar problems with Southbank University, who were last year told not to criticise religion."

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

"This silliness is unfortunately part of an on-going trend. In the last few years we have seen our affiliated societies in campus after campus subjected to petty censorship in the name of “offence” – often even when no offence has been caused or taken. Hypersensitive union officials are totally needlessly harassing students whose only desire is to get on and run totally legitimate social and political societies."

In 2012, an atheist students’ society was removed from Freshers Fair at Reading University for displaying a pineapple named “Mohammad.” At the London School of Economics' Freshers Fair last October, two representatives of the Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society were forced to cover their Jesus and Mo t-shirts. LSE later apologised to the students.

Update: On 12 February, London South Bank University's Student Union apologised for banning the posters and causing distress to the Atheist Society. The Atheist Society's posters will be reprinted and distributed on campus. The Union's statement reads:

It is not currently nor has it ever been the Union policy to censor student groups or the materials they produce and as such this was not an authorised act and we have now ensured that staff know that they should not do this.