UNIVERSITIES are “pandering” to students and deliberately avoiding anything that could be offensive, MPs and Lords were warned today.Lecturers claimed that free speech was under threat which would “restrict ideas and discussion” on campuses across the UK.Speaking to politicians on the Joint Committee of Human Rights today, they described countless examples of when speakers have been blocked from attending events and talking with students.But Cardiff’s Vice Chancellor said it was predominantly the unions rather than the universities who wanted to ban controversial speakers. Dr Joanna Williams, Senior Lecturer at the Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at the University of Kent, said: “I think that free speech is under threat”.She said higher education institutions were “restricting ideas and discussion” and many felt they had a “duty” to stop speakers from coming who some may deem to be offensive.Several controversial speakers have been barred from UK universities in recent years for their views, including feminist author Germaine Greer and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.She highlighted a case last week when Peter Hitchens was asked to come to the University of Liverpool, but had his invitation revoked after he failed to provide a copy of his speech beforehand.Dr Williams blamed… Read full this story
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