No Platform Policy
While we certainly cannot ignore the influence of religious fundamentalism worldwide in suppressing freedom of expression, I would submit that the future of free speech in Britain will depend rather on the willingness of those who believe in free speech to stand against criminalising offensive speech for its own sake...
Today I am especially proud to be a part of Brunel. Last night our students organised a mass walk out of the 50th anniversary "Big Debate", in protest of the Universities decision to invite Katie Hopkins onto the Panel.
The Times is under no obligation to publish every bigot with an opinion piece, and The Times are not suppressing free speech every time they choose not to push forward a 'controversial' agenda. When students' unions decide not to wear sombreros for a club night, they are not banning anything. They are not infringing on anyone's right to free speech.
In recent months there has been a slew of interesting critiques of the move to censor free speech by students. From Lori
If our Dear Leaders want to argue that they have a unique right to not hear views that offend them - a right which they will not extend to their opponents, and indeed cannot or else all speech would stop - then they should at least be honest about it, rather than deceiving your audience by pretending that (legal) free speech has not been replaced by speech subject to conditions...
The banning of No Offence at Freshers' Fair (and let's not pretend that this doesn't put it at considerable disadvantage in terms of distributing it and exposing those who wish to read it to the ideas therein) ironically is the perfect showcase for the need for its existence.
Platform is valuable commodity and the supply of privileged platforms far outstrips demand. This is precisely because very few people have the former while almost everyone has, at some point, availed themselves of one of the latter.
What is the most damaging and pernicious phenomenon currently infiltrating British higher education? For many, it is 'lad culture' - the pervasive 'scourge' of university bars across the country. For others, it is sexism - widespread, deplorable, and often blamed on the aforementioned 'lads'. For me, it is the illiberalism of students' unions.
If I am very honest, I do not really know much about her. I do know she's controversial, and I do know she has some bad views. I also know that some people even call her a neo-fascist. However, I have never heard her speak or explain her views.
Recently my organisation reported on the cancellation of an event at the University of Westminster which was due to feature Jamal Harwood, a senior member of the Islamist organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir, as one of its speakers.