Introducing spiked’s Safe Space Bingo


Topics Free Speech

It’s a new academic year, and that means a new crop of mad campus rules and regulations. Last year was the year of the Safe Space, with the term bandied about in the mainstream press like never before. This year, we’ve no doubt the Safe Spacers will return to campus with a vengeance.

For the uninitiated, a Safe Space is a space – physical or hypothetical – where students are protected from offensive opinions, words, jokes, gestures and even items of clothing. They are places where students are able to express themselves free from hateful phrases like, ‘I disagree with you’. But, even before Safe Spaces hit the headlines, universities and students’ unions were cooking up all manner of nonsensical restrictions in the name of protecting students from offence.

We at spiked have always been vocal critics of modern universities’ transformation from places of unfettered debate to glorified crèches. For us, the Safe Space mania is just the most absurd expression of a censorious campus culture that treats students like toddlers. And, this freshers’ week, we are calling on students to fight back against these patronising policies with a bit of civil disobedience.

That’s why we’ve come up with Safe Space Bingo, your chance to stick it to the censors and have a laugh while you’re at it. We’ve collected five of the most notorious bans, gleaned from the findings of our Free Speech University Rankings, and we’re calling on you to flout the rules in the name of freedom.

So, pick a rule, break it, and tweet or email us photos and videos of your exploits. Extra points go to those who complete the set.

1) Page 3

Almost 30 students’ unions have banned the Sun and so-called lads’ mags because they think female nudity turns men into abusers and women into victims. Pick up a copy and read it with pride.

2) Clapping

At the NUS Women’s Conference last year, clapping was replaced with ‘feminist jazz hands’ because it was deemed triggering for some students. Go on, give them a round of applause.

3) Offensive sexual noises

Thirty-three per cent of students’ unions have banned ‘wolf-whistling, cat-calling or offensive sexual noises’. Stand up for your right to flirt by making the most offensive sexual noise you can muster.

4) Pole dancing

In 2014, Swansea’s students’ union banned its pole-dancing society, citing its ‘intrinsic link to the sex industry’. Find a sturdy beam and dance to your heart’s content.

5) Sombreros

According to the University of Birmingham and the University of East Anglia, sombreros aren’t just harmless fancy-dress items, they’re a covert form of racism. Don a sombrero and call bullshit on this patronising ban.

This freshers’ week, spiked’s Down With Campus Censorship! campaign is waging a war of words on campus authoritarianism. Read our ‘Freedom for Freshers’ coverage here.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Free Speech


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