Threats to Freedom Archive

The REF “People, Culture and Environment” element to be reviewed.

The REF has announced it will review the proposed 25% weighting of its new “People, Culture and Environment” element.  The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an assessment of British Higher Education Institutions. It determines how much funding universities receive, and is overseen (ultimately) by the government’s Department for Business and…

Office of Students new free speech complaints scheme now open for consultation

The Office for Students (OfS) has opened up its proposals for a new free speech complaints scheme to consultation.  The free speech complaints scheme will allow individuals to complain that higher education institutions have failed in their legal duty to “take reasonably practicable steps to secure free speech within the law”. Consultation…

UKCP recognises student’s right to express gender critical views

A student who was expelled from a university master’s course in psychotherapy because of his gender critical beliefs has won an important legal victory against the UK Counsel for Psychotherapy (UKCP).  James Esses is a former barrister training to become a psychotherapist. Prior to his expulsion, Esses was in his…

Academic deleted from UCL webpage after comment on Gaza.

University College London (UCL) has launched an investigation after an academic was reported to have compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust.   Dr. Alex Pillen is an associate professor of anthropology at UCL specialising in the anthropology of conflict. The Standard has reported that Dr. Pillen, at a pro-Palestinian…

Philosopher talks to CAF about death threats and career obstacles

CAF has spoken to a philosopher who authored one of the first academic papers to provoke a “viral” backlash. Dr. Francesca Minerva is a philosopher at the University of Milan specialising in bioethics, and a cofounder of the Journal of Controversial Ideas. In 2012, together with another philosopher, Alberto Giubilini,…

New paper in top journal finds evidence of pervasive bias in scientific research

A new paper reviewing current empirical literature on academic freedom in science has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.  The paper is authored by Dr Cory Clark (corresponding author), a behavioural scientist at the University of Pennsylvania…

King’s College London puts pressure on academics to work with Stonewall

Procedures for applying for promotion at King’s College London may discriminate against gender-critical academics, a recently published Telegraph article reveals.  To apply for promotion at KCL, academics are required to submit an 8 page document, one page of which is dedicated to “Inclusion and Support”. Applicants are instructed to use…

38 UK academics falsely accused of antisemitism under IHRA definition, report reveals.

Nearly 75% of UK universities have adopted a definition of antisemitism that restricts academic freedom. The definition comes from International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHRA) and runs as follows:  Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are…