TCD and freedom of speech

Posted in Governance and administration on November 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I was a mature student at Trinity College Dublin in 2017 when a group of 40 protesters, not all of them students, protested the proposed talk of the Israeli ambassador to members of the College Society for International Affairs. The right to protest should not be allowed to override the right to academic freedom within the university environment …” (more)

[Teresa Trainor, Irish Times, 18 November]

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Making universities safe for trans people doesn’t threaten academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 20th, 2019 by steve

“Last Sunday a letter appeared in the Sunday Times attacking the LGBT charity Stonewall for its work with British universities as a threat to academic freedom. For context, a non-paywalled version of the text is available here. The letter was signed by some reasonably prominent figures …” (more)

[Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber, 20 June]

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Free speech row as QUB academics accuse unionists of bid to gag them

Posted in Governance and administration on May 18th, 2019 by steve

“A row has broken out following complaints by unionist politicians about views expressed by lecturers at Queen’s University. The University College Union (UCU) at Queen’s has hit out at what it termed ‘wholly unfair and worryingly authoritarian attacks’ on local academics’ right to voice opinions … ” (more)

[Adrian Rutherford, Belfast Telegraph, 18 May]

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Unionists ‘attacking Queen’s University academics’ free speech’

Posted in Governance and administration on May 17th, 2019 by steve

“The union that represents the majority of lecturers at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) has accused some unionist parties and politicians of attacks on academic freedom. The University and College Union (UCU) said they were aimed at gagging academics, especially over Brexit …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 17 May]

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Belfast theological college professor fired over BBC radio comments

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on March 21st, 2019 by steve

“A professor at Belfast’s Union Theological College (UTC) has been fired due to comments he made on a radio show. Reverend Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick, who worked at UTC for 22 years, was found guilty of ‘gross misconduct’ by a disciplinary panel of the Presbyterian Church, who run the college, the BBC reports …” (more)

[Belfast Telegraph, 21 March]

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Do academics need pseudonyms to protect their freedom?

Posted in Research on November 14th, 2018 by steve

“In 2012, the bioethicist Francesca Minerva published a paper she co-authored entitled ‘After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?’ The research concluded that new-borns have the same ‘moral status’ as foetuses, and ethically speaking can therefore be killed in all cases where abortion is permissible. The media picked up the argument for ‘killing inconvenient babies’, as the Guardian put it …” (more)

[Anoosh Chakelian, New Statesman, 14 November]

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QUB refuses to withdraw invite to Israeli Ambassador – saying invite also issued to Palestinian Ambassador

Posted in Governance and administration on October 16th, 2018 by steve

“Queen’s University have rejected calls to withdraw an invitation to the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom to speak at an event on Tuesday. The Queen’s Student Union President Connor Veighey and People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll have both called for the invitation to Mark Regev to be rescinded …” (more)

[Gareth Cross, Belfast Telegraph, 16 October]

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‘Physics built by men’: CERN suspends scientist over ‘offensive’ address

Posted in Governance and administration on October 1st, 2018 by steve

“Europe’s physics lab CERN has suspended a scientist over a lecture that suggested physics was ‘built by men’ and accused women of demanding specialist jobs without suitable qualifications …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 1 October]

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The Universities Fighting to Keep Free Speech Alive

Posted in Governance and administration on September 22nd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“When Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson told a crowd at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit that it wasn’t her job to give students a comfortable education, she experienced immediate backlash. The concept of free speech and all that it entails has become a flashpoint in universities across the world …” (more)

[Kathleen McNamee, University Times, 21 September]


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]