A study has found 94 percent of universities in the UK censor speech.
The Free Speech University Rankings, published by the outlet spiked, ranks over 100 UK universities according to a color code. The color red denotes a school that has actively repressed speech, amber signifies a school that has hindered free speech with regulation, while green schools haven’t enacted any speech restrictions. Free speech is measured by metrics such as banning speakers, as well as policies prohibiting speech deemed “racist,” “sexist,” etc.
The research comes around the same time as a Dutch Parliament motion to analyze anti-conservative bias in the country’s universities.
Year Red Amber Green
2015 41% 39% 20%
2016 55% 35% 10%
2017 63.5% 30.5% 6%
Oxford, Newcastle, Cardiff, Swansea, and Edinburgh are universities listed among spiked’s “most ban-happy.” Meanwhile, Buckingham, Trinity Saint David, and West of Scotland are campuses with the best free-speech policies.
Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings were released around the same time as right-wing parties in the Dutch Parliament asked the government to examine “whether self-censorship and limitation of diversity of perspectives” is prevalent in Dutch universities.
“What I’m not advocating is quotas on political views,” said Pieter Duisenberg of the Dutch center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, according to Times Higher Education. “What I’m advocating is freedom in the academy.”
The Dutch initiative also occurs amid the condemnation of left-wing bias on campus on the American national stage.
“They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community,” said Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s secretary of education, on Feb. 23 at Conservative Political Action Conference. “But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights [including free speech] of people with whom you disagree.”
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