Is there a meaningful threat to free speech on campus?

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on July 24th, 2018 by steve

“The most flimsy and longest-running of recent controversies, freedom of speech on campus, has received a couple of recent contributions that warrant some attention …” (more)

[Smita Jamdar, Wonkhe, 23 July]

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Illiberal liberalism

Posted in Governance and administration on July 5th, 2018 by steve

“College campuses around the world are renowned as centres of free thinking, individuality, and acceptance of those from all walks of life. And they are; as long as you think the right way that is. In recent years, it has become more and more normalised for people to be silenced because their opinions are seen as unpopular …” (more)

[Dearbhla Gormley, Village Magazine, 5 July]

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Free-speech warriors mistake student protest for censorship

Posted in Governance and administration on May 7th, 2018 by steve

“Free speech on campus has once again become a point of contention. The universities minister, Sam Gyimah, has called for tough new guidelines to protect freedom of expression. His remarks come amid claims that books are being removed from libraries, and speakers banned from campuses – all because ‘generation snowflake’ is too timid to hear discordant opinions …” (more)

[Adam Tickell, Guardian, 7 May]

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Universities must reject any attempt to gag academics – Archibald

Posted in Governance and administration on March 9th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said academics cannot be gagged in the pursuit of institutional neutrality. Speaking on the response by Queen’s University …” (more)

[Sinn Féin, 9 March]

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Are colleges really a ‘safe space’ for leftists?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 21st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Modern students, we are told, don’t want to be challenged. They would prefer to stay in a ‘Safe Space’, receiving an education devoid of challenges to their views from social conservatives. Conservative students, meanwhile, have extreme difficulty fitting in socially if their views become known …” (more)

[Nathan Young, University Observer, 21 February]

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Why fears of censorious campus culture are more than ‘free speech hysteria’

Posted in Governance and administration on February 15th, 2018 by steve

“Recently, I’ve read a number of articles arguing that there are currently few (if any) freedom of speech issues arising from students’ unions and university campus culture …” (more)

[Jim Butcher, Wonkhe, 15 February]

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Students claiming religious bias urge further investigation

Posted in Legal issues on February 14th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Four siblings who claim their freedom of speech and religious expression was curbed at NUI Galway (NUIG) have urged the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality to investigate their case …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 14 February]

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‘A university should never be a safe space’

Posted in Governance and administration on October 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Nigel Farage should be given a platform to speak to the Hist in Trinity College. As the boundaries of free speech become increasingly blurred and as conservative viewpoints on open borders are constantly conflated as white supremacist or racist …” (more)

[Irish Times, 19 October]

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Universities ‘could face fines or de-registration’ if they fail to uphold freedom of speech

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 19th, 2017 by steve

“Universities that use ‘no platforming’ and ‘safe spaces’ to shut down free speech could face action from the new higher education regulator, the Government has announced. Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said young people and students need to ‘accept the legitimacy of healthy vigorous debate’ as he outlined plans …” (more)

[Arj Singh, Independent, 19 October]

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Silencing the Other Side is Never a Substitute for Good Arguments

Posted in Governance and administration on October 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The posters put up by pro-life group Unbroken and taken down by members of Trinity People Before Profit were nasty, cruel and intended to prey on the most base fears and concerns around abortion. But they should have remained up. Not because free speech is absolute or because we should protect a right to offend and hurt, but because they act as a testament to the pro-choice side’s openness to debate even the most vile voices on the opposing side …” (more)

[University Times, 1 October]

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Again … A University is not a Safe Space

Posted in Governance and administration on September 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“In a recent debate at the Oxford Union, Peter Tatchell spoke in support of the motion ‘A University Should Not Be a Safe Space’. The gay rights rights campaigner justified his rejection of such a policy by claiming that it would allow a self selected group of people to set the parameters of acceptable speech …” (more)

[Adam Hobson, Burkean Journal, 16 September]


At Trinity Conference, Academic Freedom Fiercely Defended

Posted in Governance and administration on September 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Funny, polite and fiercely unapologetic, Steven Salaita raged in defence of academic freedom and against the actions of Israel in Palestine in a much-hyped talk in Trinity this evening. The talk, which discussed the topic ‘Freedom to Boycott: Boycott, Divest, Sanctions and the Modern University’, centered around issues of freedom of speech in academia through the lense of Salaita’s experiences …” (more)

[Eleanor O’Mahony, University Times, 11 September]

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Trinity to hold conference on freedom of speech on the academic boycott of Israel

Posted in Governance and administration on September 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Trinity College will hold a conference on the Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The case of the Academic boycott of Israel this Monday and Tuesday. The conference will take place in the Synge and Robert Emmet lecture theatres. The conference will be interdisciplinary, and will include law, the arts, social science and humanities. It will involve academics from Ireland and abroad with practical experience of the issues around freedom in higher education …” (more)

[Sarah Meehan, Trinity News, 10 September]

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Trinity to Host Conference on Academic Free Speech and Israel-Palestine Conflict

Posted in Governance and administration on May 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A conference on free speech and the Israel-Palestine conflict will be held in Trinity this September. The once-peripheral issue has dominated recent discussion in College after the cancelled visit of the Israeli ambassador, which was branded an ‘unacceptable attack on free speech’ …” (more)

[Róisín Power, University Times, 4 May]

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Free speech under threat on our college campuses

Posted in Governance and administration on April 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Robust debate, challenging ideas, dissenting opinion and free speech. These are the central tenets of campus life – helping young people to broaden their minds, question their own world view and develop the resilience necessary for the real world. But on modern campuses, these values are under grave threat of being cast aside …” (more)

[Larissa Nolan, Irish Times, 18 April]


Call for Papers – Freedom of speech and Higher Education: The case of the academic boycott of Israel

Posted in Research on April 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Academic freedom includes the liberty of individuals to express freely opinions about the institution or system in which they work, to fulfil their functions without discrimination or fear of repression by the state or any other actor, to participate in professional or representative academic bodies, and to enjoy all the internationally recognized human rights applicable to other individuals in the same jurisdiction …” (more)

[Academics for Palestine, 6 April]

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Oh no, not again – another heckler’s veto in Trinity

Posted in Governance and administration on February 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“… I don’t have time to write a considered post about this right now, but I could not let it pass unremarked, so I will content myself for the time being with noting: oh no, not again.” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell,, 21 February]

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Academic freedom demands academic balance

Posted in Governance and administration on January 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Mike Jennings (January 26th), general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, has come out strongly against University College Cork’s decision to indefinitely postpone – on safety and security grounds – the proposed March conference, ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’ …” (more)

[Kevin McCarthy, Irish Times, 27 January]

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Case Law: R (Ben-Dor) v The University of Southampton: Censorship or justified Concern?

Posted in Legal issues on May 29th, 2016 by steve

UK“In the case of R (Ben-Dor & Ors) v The University of Southampton [2016] EWHC 953 (Admin)) Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed one claim for judicial review, and refused permission to bring a further claim, in respect of decisions made by Southampton University regarding a proposed conference on the legality of the existence of Israel under international law … ” (more)

[Dominic Keene, Inforrm’s Blog, 29 May]

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The rise of the illiberal university?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 24th, 2016 by steve

Scotland“In 1982 the German-American historian Konrad Jarausch published a fascinating book (Students, Society and Politics in Imperial Germany: the Rise of Academic Illiberalism) in which he charted the rush of Wilhelmine universities and academics into sentimental nationalism and xenophobic intolerance …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 23 May]

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