Tuesday Jun 04, 2024

The Great Youth Experiment

The Free Speech Union has responded to the Office for Students’ (OfS) consultation on its proposed new guidance for English universities on how best to uphold academic freedom and free speech on campus. Realistically, the OfS’s approach to freedom of speech is likely to be unpopular with universities and, as a result, could face legal challenge. Our response sets out why we think the OfS’s position is legally defensible and how it could be improved. We also discuss the University of Cambridge’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech, which we believe to be very positive - although the student magazine Varsity appeared less enthused. Sticking with the university world, an article in the Telegraph by an anonymous student caught our eye this week. When it comes to social media use, the writer observes that, “We aren’t posting online because we think we will have a clear impact. We’re doing it because of a huge moral impetus to speak out on issues - whether or not they concern us and whether or not we are familiar with them - and to be ‘right about them’”. The student continues, “The reward? A feedback loop of heart “reacts” and supportive comments, and endless approval in the form of retweets and likes”. In the follow-up discussion, Ben highlights three damaging experiments that have been carried out on our young people in recent years: trans ideology, lockdowns and smartphones. We finish with the new Appendix that we have added to our EDI Tax briefing paper. It runs through two egregious examples of EDI training, both highlighted to us by concerned FSU members. The first is a mandatory training course for any Amazon employees with supervisory responsibilities. It is produced by ‘Glamazon’, the company’s internal LGBT+ affinity group. The second is a guide produced by The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, a professional association, that’s intended for all speech and language therapists, as well as support workers and students.

‘That's Debatable!’ is edited by Jason Clift.

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