The Office for Students’ proposals for an independent complaints process with regards to free speech exposes the deep contradiction between the government’s ostensible commitment to free speech and Prevent, writes Prof. John Holmwood for the Council for the Defence of British Universities.
The People’s Review of Prevent has released a briefing document to the higher education sector that is essential reading given recent events in the Middle East.
Here’s what students, staff and parents can expect this 2023-4 academic year after the Home Office accepted all of Shawcross’s recommendations.
As part of discussions about academic freedom in the UK, John Holmwood asks why the harms of the UK’s counter-extremism strategy Prevent have not featured in relation to concerns about academic freedom, and why’s it’s important they should.
Emerging from the ‘Re/presenting Islam on campus’ project, this 2020 report offered the first cross-sector examination of how Muslims on UK campuses are viewed and treated.
The single biggest threat to free speech on university campuses is the government’s counterterrorism Prevent programme, a report has claimed. Written and published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) the papers says that despite “strong rhetoric supporting free speech in universities”, the “current single biggest threat to free speech on UK campuses currently comes from the government’s own Prevent programme”. Read more
I write this having spoken at countless and the most prestigious universities across the UK, on topics such as the need to eradicate torture, to achieve accountability for violence by state and non-state actors in the name of the “war on terror,” and the dangers of the British government’s “Prevent” policy. I have frequently spoken about the need to end Prevent – not for the policy to have an “independent review,” but for its abolition. This is because CAGE has counselled hundreds of individuals and recorded their testimonies, and we are confident that Prevent is at its core about securitisation, mass surveillance and silencing dissent. Any policy that does this not only bodes ill for the rest of society – since it lays the groundwork for a startling system of control by the state – but it will not point us towards constructive solutions, let alone establish the trust that […]
We owe the moral, political and intellectual progress of our species more than anything to individuals whose beliefs or values were sharply at odds with those prevalent at the time. Ockham, Machiavelli, Luther, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Voltaire – these all stand in this tradition, and at the head of it there was, as Mill wrote, ‘a man named Socrates, between whom and the legal authorities and public opinion of his time, there took place a memorable collision’. We remember Socrates as the founder of Western thought; his followers invented the idea of a university. But the upshot of this collision was Socrates’ execution on the charge of ‘corrupting the youth’ of Athens; and it seems that the threat of that charge (though not of that sentence) has revived against modern universities. The effect, predictably enough, is not only a diversion of their resources but an increasing chill on […]
Free speech is being threatened at British universities by a culture of offence among certain students, according to critics. A Parliamentary inquiry has reported, regulator the Office for Students has threatened to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech and the Equality and Human Rights Commission is drawing up guidelines for universities. Read more
Major study finds that many Muslim students are self-censoring and disengaging from UK campus life. Read more