University report excuses hate speech

By Raheem Kassam, February 24, 2011
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In naming their report Freedom of speech on campus, I am sure Universities UK thought they would curry favour with the liberal-minded among us. Free speech should be defended vociferously - but free speech is not hate speech, which is precisely what this report excuses.

Vice-Chancellors have been notably absent on the debate of free speech versus hate speech, radicalisation, extremism and antisemitism on campuses. Now we know why. In their ivory towers, these issues must seem minute, irrelevant or inconspicuous (UCL's Malcolm Grant earns almost £400,000 a year in his job) - else they've been waiting for this report to exonerate their inaction.

An extract from the UUK report really sums up the attitude: "[Universities] are open institutions where academic freedom and freedom of speech are fundamental to their functioning; where debate, challenge and dissent are not only permitted but expected, and where controversial and offensive ideas are likely to be advanced."

Arms wide open to Islamists, racists and fascists, then.

Raheem Kassam is director of Student Rights at the Henry Jackson Society

Last updated: 2:15pm, February 24 2011