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Tom Slater @Tom_Slater_
, 10 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
CAMPUS CENSORSHIP THREAD: This BBC piece is being enthusiastically shared by lecturers and students' union officers who want to pretend #FreeSpeech isn't under attack on campus. It is. And here's why this BBC research is so shoddy 1/10…
spiked's Free Speech University Rankings has for four years assessed policies that limit speech as well as bans on speakers, events and materials by both unis and students’ unions (SUs). In 2018, we found 55% placed explicit restrictions on speech 2/10…
The BBC focuses on different (and very limited) metrics, and breezes over the role played by policies -- policies that, for eg, ban 'transphobic' material outright, as some unis do. Hey ho. But putting those huge oversights aside, its claims still don't stack up 3/10
It claims only six universities have banned speakers since 2010. This is incredibly misleading. The majority of speaker bans are imposed by SUs. Everyone knows this. But it seems because SUs aren't subject to freedom of information requests, they haven't been included. 4/10
We at spiked actually bother to check. We analyse news reports, contact SUs directly and pore over publicly published SU documents. But frankly, an hour on Google would make clear that six speaker bans since 2010 is a big underestimate 5/10
Only 6 speakers banned since 2010? Here's 6 to start with (Unis & SUs):
Bindel and Yiannopoulos at Mancs
Bindel (again) at Sheffield
O'Neill and Stanley at Oxford
Haddad at Kent
Here's 6 more (Unis & SUs):
Gifford at UCL:
Namazie at Warwick:
Robinson banned at Edinburgh, Durham and Brookes;
Haddad (again) at Westminster:
Beyond speakers, here are 6 banned events (Unis & SUs):
Pro-Palestine events at UCL, UCLAN and Exeter
UEA event, over UKIP speaker
Cardiff comedy gig
Durham social
I could go on
The BBC also pretty much dodges No Platform, despite the fact No Platform policies (held by 37% of SUs) are blanket, pre-emptive bans on speakers/groups. Events featuring speakers from those groups don't have to be cancelled because they're never approved in the first place 9/10
Measuring campus censorship is tricky. So much of it is cultural, rather than institutional. Events are disrupted by protests. People self-censor. But even if you're just looking at black-and-white policies and bans, the 'it's barely a thing' conclusion is just plain wrong 10/10
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