On Wednesday the 1st July, the quarterly Index on Censorship magazine debate took a look at academic freedom and the threats it is currently facing.
(In a rush? Get a foretaste of the evening from Index’s short summary text)
For more information about Index on Censorship click here, to read more about the background to the debate, please proceed to the text below, and to access bibliographical information on the evening’s speakers, click here.
Education is the beginning of so many roads, yet, if we start closing some of those avenues down, arguing that they are too dangerous or too challenging, are we not likely to find ourselves on the wrong track?
In both the U.K. and the U.S., offence and extremism are being used to shut down debates. In Turkey, an exam question relating to the Kurdish movement recently led to death threats for one historian, while, in Ireland, there are concerns about the restraints imposed by corporately sponsored research. The situation is no better in Central America, where students are being abducted and protests quashed. And, reports from Ukraine, China and Belarus show how these countries’ administrations expect education to toe the official line.
So great are many people’s concerns about the state of academic freedom that authors, academics, poets, lawyers, publishers and journalists from across the world recently came together to sign Index on Censorship’s open letter calling for the urgent protection of academic freedom.
It is no surprise then to learn that the latest edition of the Index on Censorship’s magazine takes a closer look at this pressing theme and that its launch debate further pursued the issues featured within this summer edition. Addressing themes ranging from no platform policies and trigger warnings, to campus extremism, the threat facing student sit-ins and the correct balance between safety and liberty, this Index debate explored the global situation for on campus freedom of expression and you can hear a recording of the full debate here.
Proceedings were chaired by Index on Censorship’s CEO Jodie Ginsberg and introduced by magazine editor Rachael Jolley. Following the debate, there was also a summer drinks reception, which all were invited to attend.
Siana Bangura is a blogger, writer and spoken word poet
Julie Bindel is a journalist, broadcaster, author and feminist campaigner
Nicola Dandridge is the chief executive of Universities UK
Greg Lukianoff is the president & CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [FIRE], USA
Ken Macdonald is a barrister, the ex-director of public prosecutions and a warden of Wadham College, Oxford
- Fear of terror and offence pushing critical voices out of UK universities by Professor Thomas Docherty, University of Warwick
This debate was presented by Index on Censorship in conjunction with The Conversation, SAGE Publishing and Arts Council England.
The theme of this debate stems from the Index on Censorship magazine’s summer 2015 issue, which takes a global vantage point to explore all of the threats – governmental, economic and social – currently faced by students, teachers and academics.
To find out more about the summer edition of the Index on Censorship magazine, which also features details of an interview with Alexander Litvinenko’s widow and explains why the Polish Catholic Church is so upset by Winnie the Pooh’s lack of gender, click here.