Tuesday 24 February 2015 7.00pm - 8.30pm
GRAND COMMITTEE ROOM, HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, LONDON, SW1A 0AA
Challenging the campus censors
Before the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, #JeSuisCharlie and the inevitable post-Hebdo backslide into the illiberal status quo, free speech was already a flashpoint issue in UK universities.
A combination of a creeping, risk-averse bureaucracy at the heart of university administrations and an openly censorious culture in students’ unions devastated freedom on campus. It undermined the traditional role of the academy as a space in which students and academics could think the unthinkable and say the unsayable. Yet while the banning of Dapper Laughs at Cardiff University, the crackdown on an allegedly fascist Nietzsche society at UCL and the suspension of an academic at Warwick for sighing in a meeting have all snatched headlines in recent months, the full scale of the problem has never been clear. Until now.
In February, spiked launched the Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), the UK’s first ranking of universities according to their commitment to freedom of speech. Researched and developed in partnership with students across Britain, it’s nationwide study provided students and academics with the weight of evidence they so badly need to take their censorious institutions to task.
The FSUR was launched with a live discussion in London on Tuesday 24 February. There was a panel discussion, bringing together a range of perspectives on campus censorship.
AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST
Co-founder of Justice for Women, regular contributor to the Guardian, author of Straight Expectations and officially No Platformed by the NUS.
Assistant editor at spiked, freelance arts journalist, head of the 'Down With Campus Censorship!' campaign and coordinator of the FSUR.
WRITER AND RESEARCHER
Journalist, regular contributor to spiked, organiser for the 'Down With Campus Censorship!' campaign and research coordinator for the FSUR.
DEPUTY MAYOR FOR EDUCATION AND CULTURE
Policy adviser, ICA and Royal College of Music board member, author of The Politics of Culture: The Case for Universalism.
DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND STRATEGY, POLICY EXCHANGE
Formerly director of communications for the Department for Education, and author of Meet the People.
- Tom SlaterTHE
- Julie BindelGuardian
- Brendan O'NeillSpectator
- Christopher Beckettspiked