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Universities, free speech and the transgender lobby

(51 Posts)
Clonakiltylil Mon 14-Mar-16 11:46:52

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/Features/article1675950.ece?shareToken=a8da72148f6ad5104be70c822e5b10d9

I really hope this works. It's a link to an article questioning the agenda of the transgender lobby regarding free speech in universities.

Clonakiltylil Mon 14-Mar-16 11:47:20

Ahh! Don't think it did work ...

MrsJamin Mon 14-Mar-16 12:31:57

link (shame it's on the times, I would have liked to read it)

Clonakiltylil Mon 14-Mar-16 13:16:23

I don't know if I'm allowed to cut and paste the whole thing here. If I am, I will. Can someone help?

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Mon 14-Mar-16 15:20:49

Not sure about copy and pasting I'm afraid, but it comes to something when Rod Liddle is having to stand up for the rights of the Left to express their views.

I also particular enjoyed this section:
“These people,” Bindel says with some venom, “are narcissistic idiots. It’s not proper politics, it’s an individualistic neoliberal narcissism.”

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Mon 14-Mar-16 15:22:20

Also this (I may end up copying most of the article at this rate...):
So the transgendered lobby, and its allies, is responsible for much of the present silencing of freedom of speech in our universities — and it does so because the NUS is committed to the notion of universities as being a “safe space”, where all students can feel secure from intimidation and hatred (as they would put it), or from opinions that challenge their infantile world view (as many of the rest of us would put it).

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Mon 14-Mar-16 15:30:28

The following is section 43 of the Education Act 1986. I wonder why universities are not being held to this responsibility by government? Is it because they are terrified of the spread of Islamic fundamentalism? Perhaps they think the price to pay for not having widespread radicalisation in universities is allowing professional victims to exclude nearly everyone with a brain from speaking thoughtfully about anything. Not sure that is quite the right balance to strike, myself.

Part IV
Miscellaneous

43 Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges.

(1)Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any establishment to which this section applies shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers.
(2)The duty imposed by subsection (1) above includes (in particular) the duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with—
(a)the beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body; or
(b)the policy or objectives of that body.
(3)The governing body of every such establishment shall, with a view to facilitating the discharge of the duty imposed by subsection (1) above in relation to that establishment, issue and keep up to date a code of practice setting out—
(a)the procedures to be followed by members, students and employees of the establishment in connection with the organisation—
(i)of meetings which are to be held on premises of the establishment and which fall within any class of meeting specified in the code; and
(ii)of other activities which are to take place on those premises and which fall within any class of activity so specified; and
(b)the conduct required of such persons in connection with any such meeting or activity;
and dealing with such other matters as the governing body consider appropriate.
(4)Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any such establishment shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable (including where appropriate the initiation of disciplinary measures) to secure that the requirements of the code of practice for that establishment, issued under subsection (3) above, are complied with.
(5)The establishments to which this section applies are—
(a)any university;
[(aa) any institution other than a university within the higher education sector]
[(b)any establishment of higher or further education which is maintained by a local education authority;]
[(ba) any institution within the further education sector]
(c). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(6)In this section—
“governing body”, in relation to any university, means the executive governing body which has responsibility for the management and administration of its revenue and property and the conduct of its affairs (that is to say the body commonly called the council of the university);
“university” includes a university college and any college, or institution in the nature of a college, in a university.
(7)Where any establishment—
(a)falls within subsection (5)(b) above; or
(b). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
the local education authority shall, for the purposes of this section, be taken to be concerned in its government.
(8)Where a students’ union occupies premises which are not premises of the establishment in connection with which the union is constituted, any reference in this section to the premises of the establishment shall be taken to include a reference to the premises occupied by the students’ union.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Mon 14-Mar-16 15:35:42

I doubt it's because of the worry of Islamification - so far they seem to be very good at inviting radical Islamic clerics to speak about how homosexuality/sex outside of marriage/being Jewish should be punishable by death and are using no platforming to shut down gay rights activists, feminists and secular speakers.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 14-Mar-16 17:12:00

The NUS LGBT conference passed a motion a while back stating 'Julie Bindel is vile'. (They've taken it off their website now apparently.) She's all too right - this isn't politics, it's childish and ridiculous. If I was a student now I would be embarrassed to be represented by them.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 17:19:13

The two lobbies campaigning most strongly against free speech in universities are trans activists and Islamists - IMO together the two biggest contemporary threats to feminism.

grimbletart Mon 14-Mar-16 17:32:37

Where did all these special snowflakes whose sensitive souls must not be exposed to any idea other than those they spew out of their own childish mouths come from? What is happening to intellectual rigour, to being challenged and defending your views, to open debate etc.?

And to think these tender flowers are probably going to go on to become our elite. God help us.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 14-Mar-16 17:44:02

Rod Liddle talked to Mary Beard and Julie Bindel. Bindel reckoned it was a class related thing and these were overprivileged students with too little experience of real problems .Beard blamed too much health and safety when they were growing up .

HermioneWeasley Mon 14-Mar-16 17:48:52

Agree with manatee the rush by students to protect the rights of Islamists to preach their medieval hate and silence those who object is extraordinary

I keep wondering if I was as much of a twat when I was a student?

Fitzers Mon 14-Mar-16 17:56:49

The idea that a university should be a safe space is, in my view, the antithesis of what a university should be. It should be a place where views are debated, discussed and yes even challenged in a way that won't always be comfortable. This is another good article on the matter in relation to the situation in the US

www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 14-Mar-16 17:59:19

Yeah, I really don't see how they can sit there and think the right on, liberal thing to do is to silence Maryam Namazie.
The inconsistency is just mind boggling. Hold one group of people to such a high standard that Peter Tatchell is considered transphobic on the basis of nothing whilst ignoring the actual homophobia, misogyny and antisemitism of another group. Loopy .

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 14-Mar-16 18:02:19

The elision of actual violence with verbal disagreement is rather feeble thinking too. I get the argument for speech not being harmless, I know about speech act theory, but are they capable of no greater subtlety?

Tartyflette Mon 14-Mar-16 18:19:18

But these students, or most of term, are not the elite and never will be, as they will find out if and when they graduate and try to find decent jobs. The idea that university graduates were somehow elite stems from a time when only five to 10 pct of the population went to university.
With the explosion of university places from the 90s onwards most school leavers can go on to do degree courses of various kinds. But they're not an elite, they're the majority.
Which will bring all sorts of problems. Not least that workplaces are really not that concerned about being so-called 'safe spaces' designed to protect the special snowflakes from people or ideas they disagree with.

MrsJamin Mon 14-Mar-16 18:30:23

Isn't the x factor ideology partly at fault in this generation, the preaching by the media that you can be anything you want to be if you want it enough, including being an actual woman if you are a man.

HermioneWeasley Mon 14-Mar-16 18:46:57

They would get a fucking shock in my team, that's for sure! It's, ahem, robust.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 19:02:51

They may not be the elite. But many of them will take a dilute version of their orthodoxy into adult life in academia, media and the arts basically anywhere you can stay a bit sheltered from diverse viewpoints.

Academia, media and the arts go in to exert considerable soft influence over future mainstream morality.

This is very much something to be concerned about. If you have a generation of journalists and commentators who spent their student lives comfortable with the idea that certain ideas and opinions warranted censorship, what happens to our free press? If people get used to the idea that debate must always be nice and gentle what happens to real democracy?

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 19:05:52

We can also see the deadening effect these ideas are having on the ability of feminists to push back against some of the worst attacks on women's rights in decades. Shouting 'Bigot!' is now enough to render certain ideas literally unsayable. And armies of misogynists are heaving a sigh of relief, gratefully donning their social justice warrior t-shirts and swarming out to kick women back into their place.

BeautifulMaudOHara Mon 14-Mar-16 19:09:39

It comes to something when I agree with Liddle but I agreed with every word of that article

I'm sick of university students no platforming speakers

BeautifulMaudOHara Mon 14-Mar-16 19:10:23

Mrs jamin, quite

Tartyflette Mon 14-Mar-16 20:14:13

I worked in 'the media' for many years and have to say the newsroom, (unlike, say, a lecture hall) was also a robust working environment, pace Hermione, and anyone advancing ideas like no platforming would be taken down several pegs by senior eds and generally given short shrift. (And no, it wasn't the DM)
There was open discussion of wide ranging ideas and the principle of freedom of speech was paramount. These people are still in post and are likely to be for some time yet, so I remain fairly optimistic, although still naturally concerned at the lack of tolerance we are seeing on campuses.
But I too remember that I was a bit of a twat as a student. Working at a real job in the real world knocked most of it out of me. I hope.
Mrs Jamin has it right too; the X factor mantra that you can be anything you want, if you want it enough, and the fact that you lack talent, dedication or even reasonable application doesn't matter at all. Ludicrous, but also dangerously narcissistic.

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Tue 15-Mar-16 12:41:12

I'm worried about all this as well, but then I remember how awful (in different ways) 1980s student politics was and then I think current students are not worse, or more stupid, they just have their own particular ways of being solipsistic self-deluding gits.

My (fashionable) university was particularly polarised, right vs left. The right was gleefully, horribly racist, sexist/misogynist, triumphalist in the Thatcher vein, only worse, and openly happy to denigrate anyone unconventional, especially gay people, and demonise the poor.

The left was very male-dominated, oppressively doctrinaire, inflexible, wedded to ideas of equality and multiculturalism but wholly unwilling in practice to make the slightest compromise or give up privilege to bring these things about, had a tendency to dictate to minorities and women about how they ought to be and what they ought to want, and was addicted to name-calling and shaming.

And before anyone jumps in to say 'No change there', it really was worse than today. Viciously personal and uncompromising. I remember a posh leftie having 'class traitor' screamed at him when he spoke at a hustings, and I was publicly upbraided on campus because as a black student I should have gone on an anti-apartheid march and hadn't.

In fact, between the racism and the shaming, there was hardly any space for black individuality and autonomy at all. We used to huddle in a little group (there were VERY few of us) and laugh about it all, so as not to cry.

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