Historian warns of limits on freedom of expression in universities

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

Ireland“The historian and former independent senator, Prof John A Murphy, has warned that a new puritanism is creeping into Irish universities. Prof Murphy said it was important that students were not limited in their freedom of expression but he feared that puritanism among students and some well-meaning staff was as limiting as the religious conservatism that existed in University College Cork (UCC) in the mid 20th century …” (more)

[Barry Roche, Irish Times, 17 January]

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Michael D blushing over NUIG’s own ‘Father Ted cinema protest’

Posted in Governance and administration on April 16th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Do you get the feeling Michael D Higgins is embarrassed by his Alma Mater? Obviously, the President is too polite – and restricted by his high office – to say so. But Michael D was a revolutionary, who, at the very least, would be concerned with recent goings-on at NUI Galway … “(more)

[Dara Bradley, Connacht Tribune, 15 April]

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The university should be a safe space for the life of the mind

Posted in Governance and administration on November 15th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“While accepting a Chicago Tribune 2015 Literary Award last week, Salman Rushdie robustly rejected the wave of ‘safe space’ censorship that is currently breaking upon college campuses …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 14 November]

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How far should universities restrict freedom of speech?

Posted in Governance and administration on September 12th, 2015 by steve

UK“Should students be given ‘trigger warnings’ about discussions and texts that may offend them and ‘intellectual safe spaces’ on campus? That was the key question for panelists taking part in a debate at a London Thinks event held at Conway Hall on 10 September …” (more)

[Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 12 September]

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Queen’s University Belfast n’est pas Charlie Hebdo; instead, it says nothing

Posted in Governance and administration on April 22nd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Padraig Reidy has reported that Queen’s University Belfast has cancelled a Charlie Hebdo conference, citing security fears. Áine McMahon also has the story in the Irish Times …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 21 April]

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MPs bridle at plans to make universities monitor ‘extremism’

Posted in Governance and administration on January 12th, 2015 by steve

UK“New anti-terror laws requiring universities to tackle extremism on campus threaten to stifle freedom of expression, the Government has been warned by MPs and peers …” (more)

[Nigel Morris, Independent, 12 January]

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Sense about Science: Simon Singh’s appeal hearing today

Posted in Legal issues on February 24th, 2010 by steve

“… Simon Singh’s libel case v the BCA was at the Court of Appeal today in front of three of the most senior judges in England and Wales: Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Lord Justice Sedley. They heard arguments from both barristers on the meaning of Simon’s article and on whether it was fact or comment and their judgment is expected in 6–8 weeks …” (more)

[Irishscience, 23 February]

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Sacked professor sues the state

Posted in Legal issues on January 24th, 2010 by steve

“Earlier this month, five days were spent in an Oslo court to hear testimonies in a case where sacked University of Oslo Professor Arnved Nedkvitne is suing the Norwegian government. Professor Arnved Nedkvitne has demanded he either be reinstated as a full professor in medieval history or paid financial compensation until he reaches pension age. The case is unique because sacking professors or other governmental officers is extremely rare in Norway …” (more)

[Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 24 January]

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Standing up to threats

Posted in Legal issues on December 6th, 2009 by steve

“Academics’ commitment to free expression should not be put on hold because of the threat of violence, according to a joint statement issued last Monday by a coalition of academic and civil liberties groups …” (more)

[Scott Jaschik, University World News, 6 December]

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“In the final analysis, I believe that the university is lost”

Posted in Legal issues on October 3rd, 2009 by steve

USA“A few days ago, I attended a small lunch for Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist whose image of Mohammed with a bomb for a turban is the most famous of the so-called ‘Danish cartoons’ that occasioned one of those periodic paroxysms of rage, mayhem, and murder among followers of the religion of peace. The lunch was off-the-record, so I’ll just say that Mr. Westergaard, now 74, is a gentle, soft-spoken fellow with a wry sense of humor …” (more)

[Roger’s Rules, 2 October]


Updates: Joyce, hecklers and broadcasting

Posted in Legal issues on October 2nd, 2009 by steve

Ireland“I suppose if I spent ages thinking about it, I could find a spurious thread linking three stories that caught my eye over the last few days, but in truth there is none, except that they update matters which I have already discussed on this blog. (Oh, all right then, they’re all about different aspects of freedom of expression: the first shows that copyright should not prevent academic discussion; the second shows that hecklers should not have a veto; and the third is about broadcasting regulation). First, I had noted the proclivity of the estate of James Joyce to be vigorous in defence of its copyrights; but it lost a recent case…” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 2 October]

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Disreputable actions

Posted in Legal issues on April 8th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“In late March, the University of East London suspended one of its senior staff, Anthropologist Professor Chris Knight, for bringing the university into disrepute. He had done this, in the view of the university, when during the preparations for his ‘alternative G20 summit’ he had told the Evening Standard newspaper: ‘The message to police is “if you press your nuclear button, I’ll press mine”. It sounds like a threat? Well, yeah – don’t do it. If you want violence, you’ll get it.’ This was deemed to be an incitement to violence, and action was taken against him …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 8 April]

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