In the three years since we launched the Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) – our groundbreaking annual analysis of campus censorship – it has fast established itself as the go-to source for those wanting an insight into campus madness. It’s now two months since we released our 2017 results, which showed that a shocking 63.5 per cent of universities severely restrict speech, and the results continue to make waves.
The FSUR 2017 was covered in The Times, the Telegraph, the Spectator, the Independent, the Times Higher Education and the Huffington Post. Our team discussed the findings on BBC Radio, LBC, TALKRadio and Sky News. And it was reported on in regional and student papers across the country. Read a news report about campus censorship today, and the FSUR will no doubt get a mention.
This year, we were picked up stateside, too. Fox News published a report on the FSUR, comparing UK campus censorship with the situation across the pond. spiked’s Tom Slater told Fox that UK universities are ‘restricting discussion of religion, transgenderism, offensive Halloween costumes — you name it’. Greg Lukianoff, CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told Fox: ‘Britain is in a dead sprint trying to catch up to American universities, and the problem is that [the US] is protected by the First Amendment and they’re not.’
Back in the UK, we continue to set the agenda. Earlier this month, the BBC’s Daily Politics spoke to FSUR researcher and free-speech campaigner Emily Dinsmore, who protested against Queen Mary’s tabloid ban. ‘Why shouldn’t students be able to purchase [tabloids] on campus and discuss the ideas and challenge them if they don’t like them?’, she said. Then host Andrew Neil discussed our findings with columnist Rod Liddle and author Kaite Welsh, and grilled Welsh over her support for Safe Spaces: ‘What’s the point of a university if you don’t allow a variety of views to be expressed?’