‘Student unions have become part of university management’

Dennis Hayes says a therapeutic culture is shutting down debate on campus.

Last month, the University of Derby’s student union banned the entirety of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) from speaking on campus. This ludicrous ban was justified on the grounds that UKIP is an extremist party whose mere presence on campus would pose a threat to student safety. The move was roundly criticised, and even mocked, in the British press. However, Derby’s ‘No Platform’ policy towards UKIP is only one in a long line of recent bans that have been put in place at British universities, all without so much as a batted eyelid from the commentariat. What made this case different? Why are British students becoming ever-more censorious? And why is it important that students learn the value of free speech? We spoke to Dennis Hayes, professor of education at the University of Derby, to find out more.






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