Free speech has gone from most UK universities

This is a blog I never thought I’d have to write and one that fills me with foreboding for the future.

Out of Britain’s 115 universities, only seven have a hands-off approach to free speech. The overwhelming majority
( 73  ) have  banned and actively censored ideas on campus, while a further 35 have chilled free speech through some kind of intervention.

As if this were not worrying enough already,  much of this censoring of free speech has not been confined to extremist issues like banning Al Quaeda or the Ku Klux Klan on safety grounds, but has included ‘disinviting’ or ‘no platforming’ controversial speakers from both left and right – and banning newspapers like the Sun and Mail.

This horrifying picture emerges from a survey conducted by the magazine Spiked-online.com – a broadly leftist website that opposes extremism and champions freedom of speech.

Equally worrying is that it isn’t just the students who are becoming more extreme and more intolerant of the views of others, it’s also the university administrators.

And the problem is getting worse by the year. This year’s 63 per cent of universities who have earned Spiked’s “Red Light” is up on 2016’s 55 per cent and 41 per cent in 2015.

No less than 20 unis have banned newspapers, 21 have banned speakers, 16 have suspended student societies and 17 have banned adverts.

The worst offender of all is – wait for it – Oxford, closely followed by Newcastle, Swansea, Cardiff and Edinburgh.  The most free of all are Buckingham, Trinity St David and West of Scotland.

These mind-boggling figures inevitably provoke the question: What on earth are we sending young people to university for if not to broaden their minds?

 

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