UK Higher Education Minister warns about the “chilling effect” of diversity schemes at universities

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The university’s state minister wrote a letter warning the university about signing up for a scheme of equality and diversity that could impede freedom of speech.

Michel Donneran I told the university that concerns were rising The “chilling effect” on university campuses prevents students, staff, and scholars from expressing “legal views without fear of impact.”

“Freedom of speech is paramount. British political adviser, critic, educator and columnist Calvin Robinson told The Epoch Times in an email. He joined other advocates of free speech. Celebrated Donneran by intervening in a “lazy” university that “accepted compulsory training” in a “half-digested political story.”

Donneran added that the university “may be nervous about creating an environment that promotes and protects freedom of speech.”

Illegal “silencing”

Donneran questioned whether institutions that are members of The Race Equality Charter, run by Advance AE, are a place where freedom of speech and academic freedom can flourish.

Advance HE is a publicly funded organization that serves as a “single sector institution for leadership and governance in equality and diversity, learning and education, and higher education.”

It covers institutional racism, white privilege, power, and provides a wide range of support, including training on racial equality in dealing with racial microaggression, and believes:There is structural and institutional racism.

“One of the areas that caught my attention as being tense in creating an environment that promotes and protects freedom of speech is university membership and participation in external guarantees, and diversity schemes. It’s a benchmark, “writes Donelan.

This letter was sent when the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) bill was being discussed in Congress. The law requires universities and universities to defend freedom of speech and eradicate illegal “silence” and empowers higher education regulators to impose fines for violating this condition. ..

The bill was introduced by the conservative government in May 2021. It passed the House of Commons and is now being read a second time in front of the House of Commons.

Race Equality Charter

The MP added that the Race Equality Charter “recently attracted attention from the MP and the media, but of course there are many other similar schemes, and this letter recommends careful consideration of all of these.” ..

The LGBTQ + Charity Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme is such a scheme. For example, last December, University College London (UCL) Break the relationship with the scheme “Recognizing that formal institutional commitment to Stonewall may have the effect of hampering academic research and debate within UCL on gender and gender identity,” academic freedom of speech. Some have raised the issue.

“University and other HE [higher education] Providers are autonomous institutions, and the decision to participate in external warranty and benchmark diversity schemes is up to the individual provider, “says Donelan.

“Given the importance of creating an HE environment where freedom of speech and academic freedom can thrive, we carefully consider whether continued membership in such schemes will help establish such an environment. I would like you to do it, “she added.

“Michel Donneran has the right to challenge the university on this, and it is of utmost importance to protect the freedom of speech of both students and tutors. The university is a safe place to discuss different ideas and perspectives. “It must be,” said Robinson, who is also part of Don’t Divide Us, an organization founded to oppose Britain’s “divided obsession with racial identity.”

“The next step is to undertake this awakened indoctrination and prevent lobbyist groups from penetrating education with their disputed ideologies,” he added.

Anti-racism

Don’t split us Outlined in the report We believed that Advance HE’s Racial Equality Charter was more likely to promote division than the valuable purpose of campus equality.

Dr. Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, Head of Education Strategy at Don’t Divide Us, told The Epoch Times that Donneran’s letter was a “welcome intervention” and AdvanceHE did not accept their offer of discussion.

“These guidance that came under the banner of anti-racism is sometimes well-meaning, but the point is that they have very negative consequences. People are beginning to notice it.” She said.

“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are the basic principles of higher education,” a spokesman for Advance HE told The Epoch Times.

“Autonomous agencies must be able to make their own decisions about tackling racial discrimination and fostering inclusiveness, including whether they want to join a Racial Equality Charity (REC). “I will.” He writes.

“Because REC aims to support the inclusion and affiliation and success of black, Asian and ethnic minority staff and students, to enhance their voice and input, and thus to increase freedom of speech throughout the institution. REC recognizes that there are many ways to deal with racial discrimination, some of which are in conflict. REC allows participants to adapt to their circumstances to EDI. It’s a voluntary framework that supports the development of approaches, “he added.

Fire a big game in a culture war

Professor Dennis Hayes, president of the Academics for Academics Freedom (AFAF), told The Epoch Times in an email that Michelle Donneran had been accused of “launching a big game in a cultural war.”

“Donelan can be blamed for the” right-wing “cultural enthusiasm, as well as those who criticize the status quo of the university. But the situation is the exact opposite of what people who talk about “right-wing” cultural wars believe. “

AFAF maintains a ban list, which is a list of scholars and other people who have faced attempts to censor or ban them from campus.

“The university has launched a cultural war by imposing a political perspective on its staff, but they are not even aware of it. They only call those who fight back,” he said.

Hayes explained that this “almost, but never completely happened,” because the university “became lazy and bought commercial training and online modules that included a half-digested political story.”

“Then staff are undoubtedly required to carry out and accept these” mandatory “trainings,” he said, and Diet University staff are undoubtedly required to carry out and accept “critical race” theory, unconscious bias training, and decolonization. He added that it includes geological formation and crossing. , Understanding gender identity, etc. “

He said the university’s solution to Donneran’s challenge was “simple.”

“It has long been AFAF’s view that all controversial topics such as those listed above should be involved through debate and debate,” he said.

“Talk about your favorite topic, but make sure there is a discussion for and against it, and it’s open to discussion. That is, the university has some intellectual ability to return to an institution rather than an institution. Work needs to be done, but certainly can any university oppose lively and critical debate on any topic? ‚ÄĚHaze added.

Owen Evans

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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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