British minister demands NDA ban at university

Labor Party Rep. Jess Phillips said the proposed bill needed to be changed so that nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) or confidentiality agreements would not interfere with the freedom of speech of affected people.

During a parliamentary debate on Monday, Phillips chose that students had been silenced by the university from talking about the sexual abuse they faced.

However, long-time academic freedom activists have also said they are concerned about the broader battle for freedom of speech, arguing that the new law will not be confident in what scholars say, and legislatively. He said a major cultural change was needed, not a solution.

Freedom of speech laws on university campuses will be scrutinized by the House of Lords. Education (freedom of speech) bill The first progress was completed on Monday through the House of Commons. The government says there is a need for “toothed” laws that protect freedom of speech on university campuses.

“Beyond belief”

When the bill is passed, existing legislation will be strengthened to make promoting freedom of speech a legal definition. This means that if the university does not support freedom of speech, it may be brought to court.

Conservative MP during the debate Sir John Hayes He said he believed that the “paranoid issuance” of the “so-called trigger warning” (some claim violating freedom of speech and academic freedom) was almost “incredible.” Trigger alerts are often displayed as short tags to alert students at the beginning of a lecture, movie, or lecture that the content may be offensive.

“Snow has turned into ice. They are no longer snowflakes, they are frozen. Those who haven’t dared to read Austin, Brontes, and George Eliot,” said Sir Hayes.

“Even claiming freedom of speech will now be criticized,” said Dennis, president of Academic Freedom (AFAF), regarding the situation of superpolitical correctness the university is facing in the UK.・ Haze told the Epoch Times.

Scholars for Academic Freedom (AFAF) Maintain Ban listThis is a list of scholars and other people who have faced attempts to censor or ban them from campus.

Organizational casework often involves university scholars, students, professionals or technical staff. They are subject to disciplinary action for their views, what they say to colleagues, students, or for posting on social media or articles.

“We must win the discussion of free speech.”

Mr. Hayes said he was pleased that Phillips raised the issue, but said that “only one particular issue of sexual harassment is not a broad defense of free speech.”

“Let’s remove the non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality clause regarding freedom of speech. I have repeatedly said that point is not original, but it is ignored. And the university keeps it secret. In the meantime, you can avoid it, “Haze said.

“The debate is a legislative or cultural debate. The law does not give scholars confidence in what they say. It must win the debate on free speech. “.

Hayes’ view was that the university is currently in a “therapeutic environment.”

“There are a lot of cases where people complain about something they find offensive, and the university has to take it seriously because of the rules,” he said. rice field.

“We have lost the distinction between action and speech,” he added, adding that unfortunate wording can be taken seriously and students can be prosecuted for disciplinary action when they complain about staff. I added that there is.

“Then, if someone makes an objective attack from what you say, you can face serious problems,” he said.

Not all disciplinary actions at the university mention confidentiality. However, breach of confidentiality is usually treated as a crime. The NDA is at the end of the procedure.

In a work called Shadow University, Hayes writes that some who have faced retaliation for free speech violations have published their cases.

What he called “law” because of what happens in the legislation of free speech [a play on the word ‘warfare’] You will see the transfer to college brought to court.

“And if that happens, it will win the proceedings rather than the free speech debate,” Hayes said.

“But it’s important that people can speak freely. That’s the problem,” he said.

“We have broken away from advocating for freedom of speech, and many scholars have said,” We can’t go anywhere, so we just change the law. ” And since you can see it happening, the secret world means no change. “Because everything is done in a closed room, with disciplinary action and complaints,” he added, “more bureaucracy but less freedom of speech.”

PA Media contributed to this report.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers stories from a wide range of countries with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.

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