Gransnet forums

Free Speech at University curbed

(12 Posts)
KateF Sun 03-Feb-19 16:31:38

Interesting following on from my post yesterday on the Warwick University Thread and my experience with Free Speech whilst I was at University in a different life.

M0nica Mon 04-Feb-19 14:18:33

There was another edict at about the same time from the government asserting the right for different views to be hear on campus, whether the students liked the views or not. Expressing unpopular views does NOT mean inciting people to commit violence against other people they disagree with.

Teetime Mon 04-Feb-19 14:43:22

I thought university was meant to be a crucible of ideas and thought which could be researched, debated and documented.

jura2 Mon 04-Feb-19 15:10:14

Agreed, and yet. Should there really be NO limits?

Should Universities open doors to those who prone Nazi policies, White Supremacy, Holocaus Denials, Discrimination against women, or the disabled, or the elderly? Up to what point?

Baggs Mon 04-Feb-19 17:16:09

There is one argument I've heard for the kinds of subjects you mention, jura, and I think it a good one: if extreme views are not challenged (in the same way unacceptable behaviour is 'called out') in public debate they will just go underground and fester. It's better to face up to them however distasteful that may be.

There is also the problem of how something like, say, white supremacy, is defined, what sort of ideas it includes and so on.

So long as violence is not being advocated against other people, only arguments for or against ideas, I think it's probably better not to no-platform anyone.

Baggs Mon 04-Feb-19 17:16:56

In effect there is a limit—advocacy of violence or direct harm to others.

M0nica Mon 04-Feb-19 18:52:05

jura I did say Expressing unpopular views does NOT mean inciting people to commit violence against other people they disagree with., which does rather cover your point.

I would go and listen to someone putting forward an argument in favour of discrimination against women. Providing he didn't wind people up and exhort them to do so. I would not agree with his argument but I think I am entitled to hear it.

Baggs Mon 04-Feb-19 19:19:45

Yes, and it's far better to hear it. If you never listen to what people with ideas you think you disagree with have to say, how will you know that you disagree? You might find you disagree less (or more!) than you expect if you listen to what they have to say. You can also counter their views with what you think are better ones.

jura2 Mon 04-Feb-19 19:48:21

Yes, I see that and agree to a large extent. And yet, there is a often a very fine line.

M0nica Tue 05-Feb-19 16:37:20

The line is very fine and at times will be crossed, but better that than lose our right to free speech.

jura2 Tue 05-Feb-19 16:48:32

Yes, Monica, I tend to agree.

About that fine line- we would possibly put it in different places. An exemple. Farage, yes. Tony Robinson, no.

M0nica Tue 05-Feb-19 19:44:03

The chances of Tony Robinson giving a reasoned thought out speech and not a racist rant would make him unlikely ever to be given an open mike, but in the hypothetical situation, where he could prove that he would make a calm carefully reasoned and thoughtful speech, why not. The chances of him converting anyone would be negligible