How freedom of expression in academia is under threat from academics themselves

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle (Specialist Publication)

Abstract

Spats, fall-outs and intellectual and personal feuds have long been commonplace among scholars. But British universities are now facing much more insidious challenges. Student-led “safe spaces” and “no platforming” campaigns are well known. But social media have also facilitated mounting intolerance and self-righteous militancy on the part of certain academics themselves. Claims to a monopoly of virtue and wisdom, and narrow conceptions of what is politically and morally acceptable, are being aggressively asserted. Some seek to affirm their credentials by denouncing, condemning and vilifying others through hostile petitions and mass-signatory letters to the press. These typically demand dismissal, either from editorships of journals, or from scholarly employment altogether. Others do not shrink from workplace harassment and bullying, including attempts to block the publication of legitimate and lawful opinion before it sees the light of day. This article considers what might be done, particularly with the assistance of the law, to address these problems.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Freedom of expression, academic freedom, legal regulation of academic freedom,

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