UK universities could face fines over 'no-platforming'


Blackleaf
+2
#1  Top Rated Post
Universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them", Universities Minister Jo Johnson (the brother of Foreign Secretary Boris) has said in a speech in Birmingham.

He said "no-platforming", the policy of banning controversial speakers, is stifling debate.

From next April, a new regulator - the Office for Students (OfS) - will have the power to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech.

Universities UK has said it will not allow legitimate debate to be stifled.


Universities could face fines over 'no-platforming'

BBC News
26 December 2017



Universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them", Universities Minister Jo Johnson has said in a speech in Birmingham.

He said "no-platforming", the policy of banning controversial speakers, is stifling debate.

From next April, a new regulator - the Office for Students (OfS) - will have the power to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech.

Universities UK has said it will not allow legitimate debate to be stifled.

In his speech on Boxing Day, Mr Johnson said: "In universities in America and worryingly in the UK, we have seen examples of groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them.

"We must not allow this to happen. Young people should have the resilience and confidence to challenge controversial opinions and take part in open, frank and rigorous discussions."

Mr Johnson was speaking at the Limmud Festival, which celebrates Jewish learning and culture.

In his speech, Mr Johnson said that the Office for Students will ensure universities promote "freedom of speech within the law".

Proposals for the new body, which are open for consultation, could see universities being fined, suspended or deregistered, if they do not protect free speech within the law.

Universities UK chief executive Alistair Jarvis said: "There is already a legal duty on the higher education sector to secure free speech within the law and universities take these responsibilities very seriously."

He added that institutions also had a duty of care to the "safety of students and staff".

Sir Anthony Seldon, the vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, agrees with Mr Johnson's plan, saying it is a "duty" of universities to "open up dialogue".

But he says it is "degrading" that the minister has had to step in.

"The universities themselves autonomously didn't get their eggs in order, so the Universities Minister is having to tell us what to do," he told the BBC News Channel.

"I think that really is quite a shame for us, and almost rather degrading that we're in that position."


The study on the ethics of the British Empire is taking place at Christ Church, Oxford

Mr Johnson's speech comes as one of the UK's oldest universities has been criticised by academics for a project on the ethics of the British Empire.

Up to 60 Oxford University academics have signed a letter in opposition to "the agenda" of the project.

The programme is led by Prof Nigel Biggar, who claimed in a recent article in The Times there are aspects of empire Britain can be proud of.

A university spokesperson said "arguments and differing approaches" are to be expected, and defended Prof Biggar as an "entirely suitable" person to lead the "valid evidence-led academic" project.

What are 'no-platforming' and 'safe space' policies?



"No-platforming" is the practice of banning certain groups from taking part in a debate if their views are considered to be offensive or unacceptable.

"Safe space" policies are intended to protect students from views and language they find offensive, including discrimination.

In 2016, nearly two-thirds of university students believed the National Union of Students was right to have a "no-platform" policy.

That approach means people or groups on a banned list for holding racist or fascist views are not given a platform to speak on student union premises.

The NUS official no-platform list contains six groups including the BNP and Al-Muhajiroun, but individual unions and student groups can decide their own.

At Canterbury Christ Church University, an NUS representative refused to share a platform with LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, whom she regarded as having been racist and "transphobic".


Universities could face fines over 'no-platforming' - BBC News
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 26th, 2017 at 12:22 PM..
 
Dixie Cup
+2
#2
I wonder if they'll try to get around it by stating that "...the institutions have a "duty of care" regarding the safely of students and staff." They'll use that to ensure that no controversial l speakers will be allowed. It's disgusting and should never have come to this. Having said that, more governments (Canadian & US) need to ensure that freedom of expression/speech is protected and if this is one way of doing it, so be it.


JMHO
 
captain morgan
#3
The question then becomes; who sits in judgement in determining who (and what topics) are controversial?

Slippery slope
 
Dixie Cup
+2
#4
poor little weenies, need "safe spaces" - what a bunch of wimps we are raising!
 
captain morgan
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Dixie Cup View Post

poor little weenies, need "safe spaces" - what a bunch of wimps we are raising!

No doubt.

It really makes you wonder how these delicate little flowers will make it in life.

I wouldn't want to be around when they get their first 'no' or more interestingly, when they decide to retire and find out that there's not enough money in the kitty to actually live.

I can only assume that they will be ranting and raving about human rights or some such thing
 
taxslave
+1
#6
Flossy and his fascist friends will not like free speech that hasn't been approved first.
 
Cannuck
#7
Didn't read the OP. What happened? Did somebody kneel for an anthem?