Threats to Freedom Archive

Office of Students publishes strong guidance on free speech.

The Office for Students is consulting on its proposed guidance for universities and students’ unions on freedom of speech.  Universities have had a duty to take “reasonably practicable steps” to secure freedom of speech since the Education Act of 1986. This duty has largely been ignored.   The Higher Education (Freedom…

KCL Israel Society forced to cancel event following death threats.

King’s College London Israel Society has been forced to cancel an event after an invited speaker received numerous death threats.  King’s College London Israel Society describes itself as  a community of Israeli students, students with a connection to Israel or anyone who wishes to learn more about Israel.  It is…

Alice Sullivan cancelled by Canadian Department of Justice

The Canadian Government has cancelled a talk by a UK academic.  Alice Sullivan is a professor of sociology at University College London. She is an expert on the collection of data on sex and gender and a member of the advisory board of CAF. Sullivan was due to give a…

Queen Mary University and Queen Mary UCU both wrong about academic freedom.

Queen Mary University has removed “pro-Palestine” posters from Queen Mary branch of the University and College Union. At the same time, the union has called on the university to take an official position on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Both actions constitute attacks on academic freedom.   Queen Mary UCU is the…

Universities use “microaggressions” to stifle free speech, CAF investigation finds.

A number of universities have published guides, training courses, and statements on microaggressions which undermine freedom of expression and academic freedom. The term “microaggression” was popularised by the Harvard psychologist Dr Derald Sue. Sue defines microaggressions as: Everyday verbal, non-verbal and environmental slights, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional,…

CAF survey reveals climate of oppression and fear in UK universities.

On 12 February, CAF sent an anonymous survey to the 319 signatories of its “three principles”, inviting them to answer ten questions about academic freedom with a “yes” or “no” followed by “further comments”. 95 responded. CAF’s 319 signatories are academics of all disciplines, from universities of all types and…