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Cambridge university urged to re-invite rightwing academic Jordan Peterson

Cambridge University’s vice-chancellor is being urged to re-invite the controversial Canadian professor Jordan Peterson to take up a fellowship in light of a vote allowing “tolerance” of differing views.An offer of a visiting fellowship for the self-styled “professor against political correctness” was rescinded last year after protests from faculty and students.The university’s policy now emphasises…

Academic freedom is precious – so why have UK universities sold...

In February 1970, students occupying the registry at Warwick University discovered dozens of incriminating documents. The university, at the behest of the business interests that dominated its governing council, was apparently spying on its lecturers and students and keeping files on their political activities. Among the targets was Prof David Montgomery, one of America’s most…

UK lecturers ‘strongly support colleagues’ academic freedom’

British university staff oppose efforts to sack colleagues who produce controversial research, according to a report on political diversity in higher education that claims to reveal “an important reservoir of support for academic freedom”. The report by the right-leaning thinktank Policy Exchange urges the government to impose a new free speech regulator on British universities…

We’re making a right mess of our right to free expression

This month, the former home secretary Amber Rudd was invited to give a speech to UN Women Oxford UK, an Oxford University student society, to celebrate International Women’s Day. Thirty minutes before the event, Rudd was “disinvited” and the event cancelled. Last week, the university “deregistered” the student society for breaking free-speech regulations. Both decisions…

The university ‘complimentary speech crisis’ has actually been a rightwing misconception...

The idea that there is a free speech “crisis” at British universities has gained considerable currency over the last decade. “No platforming”, “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” have been held up by conservatives, libertarians and “classic liberals” as the holy trinity of campus censorship methods – supposed threats to free speech and academic freedom. There…

A violent attack on scholastic flexibility|Letter

We strongly condemn the violence against students and faculty staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, on 5 January by a gang of armed and masked rightwing thugs including many belonging to the ABVP, an outfit affiliated to India’s ruling BJP (Report, 7 January). Shamefully, the Delhi police allowed the attackers into the campus unhindered, blocked…

Anti-abortion activists significantly targeting UK college student

Anti-abortion campaigners are increasingly targeting students at UK universities, where there has been a rise in the number of anti-abortion societies on campus and demonstrations by outside groups displaying graphic imagery. The campaign has gathered momentum on the back of a continuing debate about freedom of speech in universities. Some student unions have been threatened…

UK’s Prevent method ‘most significant hazard to totally free speech on...

The Prevent strategy for curtailing extremism in the UK is the biggest threat to free speech at universities rather than media caricatures of “snowflake” students, according to a director of Liberty. Corey Stoughton, director of advocacy at the human rights organisation, said the tactics of the strategy for monitoring campus activism had a “chilling effect”…

UK’s Prevent assistance to universities illegal, court guidelines

The government’s Prevent duty guidance to universities is unlawful and must be rewritten, judges have ruled after a successful judicial review argued that it violated freedom of speech. The court of appeal found that Prevent guidelines on inviting controversial speakers were not balanced and accurate enough to inform universities of their competing obligations to ensure…

The Guardian view on scholastic liberty: the right to be really...

Professor John Finnis is a devout and learned Catholic legal scholar, who is currently being attacked at Oxford University for his views on sexuality as expressed in a lecture to the Catholic University of Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1994 at the height of the culture wars. By reason of his religious commitments, his language, and…

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