Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Politically correct universities 'are killing free speech'
British universities have become too politically correct and are stifling free speech by banning anything that causes the least offence to anyone, a group of leading academics warns on Saturday.

A whole generation of students is being denied the “intellectual challenge of debating conflicting views” because self-censorship is turning campuses into over-sanitised “safe spaces”, they say.

Writing in The Telegraph, the academics, led by Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Canterbury, and Joanna Williams, education editor, Spiked, say it is part of a “long and growing” list of people and objects banned from British campuses, including pop songs, sombreros and atheists.

They say the “deeply worrying development” is curtailing freedom of speech “like never before” because few things are safe from student censors.

Because universities increasingly see fee-paying students as customers, they do not dare to stand up to the “small but vocal minority” of student activists who want to ban everything from the Sun newspaper to the historian David Starkey.

The letter says: “Few academics challenge censorship that emerges from students. It is important that more do, because a culture that restricts the free exchange of ideas encourages self-censorship and leaves people afraid to express their views in case they may be misinterpreted. This risks destroying the very fabric of democracy.

“An open and democratic society requires people to have the courage to argue against ideas they disagree with or even find offensive. At the moment there is a real risk that students are not given opportunities to engage in such debate.

“A generation of students is being denied the opportunity to test their opinions against the views of those they don’t agree with.”

In recent months, students at British universities have banned, cancelled or challenged a host of speakers and objects because some found them offensive. Maryam Namazie, a prominent human rights campaigner who is one of the signatories to the letter, was initially banned from speaking at Warwick University because she is an atheist who, it was feared, could incite hatred on campus. She spoke at Warwick in the end.

In September, the University of East Anglia banned students from wearing free sombreros they were given by a local Tex-Mex restaurant because the student union decided non-Mexicans wearing the wide-brimmed hats could be interpreted as racist.

Oxford University cancelled a debate on abortion after female students complained that they would be offended by the presence of “a person without a uterus”, in other words a man, on the panel.

Cardiff University students tried to ban the feminist icon Germaine Greer because she once wrote that a man who was castrated would not behave like a woman, which was construed as offensive to transsexuals.

Last month The Daily Telegraph revealed that students at Harvard had asked for rape law to be dropped from lectures in case any students were victims of sexual assault. And President Obama has said that “coddling” students is “not the way we learn”.



Anonymous said...

The Politically Correct hysteria on college campuses today is similar to the nonsense of the anti-war crowd of 45 years ago.
Students with little knowledge and little experience consider themselves to be experts on life.

Anonymous said...

Fuck them.

Bird of Paradise said...

How soon will the liberal collage accademics start burning conservative books just like the nazis did and remember the movie FARIGNHIGHT 451

Anonymous said...

Hey birdbrain, learn to fucking spell.

Anonymous said...

7:00 It's no use telling 'Bird' to spell properly. Bird has been told many times but obviously it isn't possible or Bird doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

As an employer, is this the type of attitudes you would want in your work environment? Leftist academics aren't immune from the shenanigans of these overly entitled over grown toddlers and neither will leftist employers. They will make the work environment intolerable, and productivity and morale and profits are likely to plummet. Employers should pay very close attention to what college these toddlers have graduated from, because their attitudes will follow them into other avenues and spheres of life. Since many of them get away with it in college, they are quite sure they will get away with it in the working world as well. Beware.