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free speech
We are pleased to publish the results of one of our funded research projects.  ‘Satisfied Customers?: Interrogating “the student experience” in the neoliberal university’, by Professor Leo McCann (University of York) explores UK students’ perspectives on the marketized university.  The research found that UK university students are largely enthusiastic about the content and quality of their degrees,...
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Words by David Feldman.  The war in Gaza reverberates globally.  One consequence is renewed controversy over when criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights becomes antisemitic. This debate has been crystallized by two definitions of antisemitism: the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. Both definitions agree...
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Words by Susan Bruce with Kelli Rudolph.  Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, generally so illuminating on the multiple topics they discuss in their podcast The Rest is Politics, were less informative than they usually are in their 13 December discussion of the US House Education and Workforce committee hearing of 5/12/2023 wherein the Presidents of...
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The Office for Students (OfS) is currently caught up in the crossfire of a government-inspired ‘culture-war’ on universities. This has included passage of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act in May 2023 to address an alleged ‘no platforming’ of right-wing and gender-critical speakers.  The OfS has now published its proposals for an independent complaints...
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Introducing a blog by John Holmwood A lot of attention within the Higher Education sector is currently directed at the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill going through Parliament. Concocted during Gavin Williamson’s period as Secretary of State for Education, it was widely lobbied for by right-wing think tanks, such as Policy Exchange. Their report...
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Words by Dr Heather McKnight, founder of the social enterprise Magnetic Ideals and Doctor of Legal Studies. In 1970, the Commission on Academic Freedom and the Law (CAFL) released research exposing changes in how universities were using the law: a discontinuity that both marked and reflected the historical moment. The joint commission between the National...
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Words by Liz Morrish, independent scholar.  In August 2020, the UK think tank The Policy Exchange produced a report on Academic Freedom in the UK, alleging a chilling effect for staff and students expressing conservative opinions, particularly pro-Brexit or ‘gender critical’ ideas. This is an issue that was examined by a 2018 parliamentary committee on...
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Words by Andrew M Colman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Leicester. The UK Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, wrote to universities in October 2020 directing them to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism by Christmas, and warning that any universities refusing to comply could face cuts in funding. Only...
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As the world welcomes a new year, the issues that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on higher education remain. Students across the UK have begun rent strikes, university staff face the prospect of returning to unsafe campuses, and debates about the value of online learning rage on. Calls for students to get rent rebates at...
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