Universities are considering the insertion of warnings into books and even moving some off open library shelves altogether to protect students from “dangerous” and “wrong” arguments. The proposal could hit books by climate-change sceptics, feminists, eugenicists, creationists, theologians and Holocaust deniers. It will generate new controversy over free speech at British universities, where speakers have been “no-platformed” because of their views. Academics said controversial titles included Nigel Lawson’s book An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. —The Sunday Times, 29 October 2017
A controversial essay that offered a defense of colonialism and led to a revolt at Third World Quarterly has been withdrawn due to “serious and credible threats of personal violence” to the journal’s editor, according to a notice posted by the journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis. The publisher said that it had conducted a thorough investigation after receiving complaints about the essay and found that it had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal’s editorial policy. However, the publisher’s notice continued, the journal’s editor received “serious and credible threats of personal violence” linked to the publication of the essay. —The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 October 2017
Students at one of the country’s top universities are paying £12 an hour for “safe space marshals” to patrol events and ensure that speakers do not offend audiences with their views. Marshals are required to attend events at King’s College London students’ union that are judged to be a high or medium risk to its safe space policy. Their duties include reminding chairmen of their safe space obligations and taking action if a breach of the policy occurs. This could include asking someone to be quiet or leave if their behaviour is offensive or prejudiced. —Rosemary Bennett, Education Editor, 27 October 2017
Argentinian artist Marta Minujín has used thousands of prohibited books to construct a replica of the Parthenon in Athens on a Nazi book-burning site in Kassel, Germany. All the books were donated by the public from a shortlist of over 170 titles that are either currently or formerly prohibited. Book burnings took place in cities across Germany in 1933 as part of the Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist, which translates as a Campaign against the Un-German Spirit. Organised by the German Students Union, the events were intended to bring arts and culture in line with the Nazi ideals and rid blacklisted authors from circulation. —DeZeen Magazine, Summer 2017
I am opposing today’s motion because I regard it as perhaps the most inhuman and amoral motion ever proposed at the Cambridge Union. The goal of humanists cannot be to deny the world’s poorest access to cheap and reliable energy. At its core, the motion is deeply wicked and should be rejected by everyone who takes the urgent needs of the world’s poor into consideration rather than prioritise an intolerant if well-meaning green agenda that is harming millions of people today. –Benny Peiser, Cambridge Union, 26 October 2017
Trackback from your site.