Why Academic Freedom Matters

A ‘must read’ new book out this September from Civitas with contributions from many AFAF supporters including Jenny Jarvie, Dennis Hayes, Cheryl Hudson (ed.), Tara McCormack, Jason Walsh and Joanna Williams (ed.). Order it now on Amazon only £9.

“Academic freedom in British universities has become a national talking point. Government policies such as the Prevent Duty and the Research Excellence Framework pose a threat to academic freedom, as do students – and increasingly scholars themselves – who want to turn the campus into an intellectual ‘safe space’. Yet despite the seemingly novel nature of current preoccupations, debates over academic freedom have a long history. This book explores why, for centuries, scholars have considered intellectual autonomy essential for the pursuit of truth and the advancement of knowledge. Contributors to Why Academic Freedom Matters come from a variety of institutions, disciplines and career stages. Together, they consider the key threats to academic freedom today that emanate from national government policies, institutional practices, student-led groups and the desire from scholars themselves not to upset either students or colleagues. Each chapter offers a different perspective on the continued importance of academic freedom within a changing university. The volume as a whole provides a timely discourse on the connection between free enquiry and academia’s historic mission to advance the sum of human knowledge. In making the case for free, open and robust debate, this book points to the many ways in which academic freedom is being eroded and why this still matters for scholars, students and the future of higher education”.

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Vote Elrica for Freedom of Speech

1st Mar 2016 0 Comments

Elrica NUS

Elrica Degirmen is standing for the position of Education Officer in the University of Manchester NUS Elections on a free speech platform…if you can, vote for her, if not publicise her campaign…stand up to the NUS censors! Here is her manifesto:

Elrica1Elrica Man

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The new intolerance on campus

16th Feb 2016 0 Comments

The new intolerance on campus‘ is an afternoon of debate as part of the launch events for Spiked‘s Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) which are sponsored by AFAF.

“When speakers are banned on campus today, they are often accused of being intolerant, or bigoted. Whether it’s a far-right firebrand or an Islamist preacher who’s being silenced, the charge that someone is being intolerant – of other religions, of women, of homosexuals – is the go-to justification for No Platforming him or her. But who are the real intolerant ones? Those who wish to air their views – as hateful or batty as they may be – or those who can’t tolerate hearing them?

At this unique, one-off conference – the first of its kind in the UK – spiked is bringing together world-renowned writers, academics and activists to interrogate these questions. With sessions on Safe Spaces, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, No Platforming and hate speech, we will explore the rise of a new intellectual bigotry on campus, which is producing young minds that would rather censor or boycott their opponents than argue with them”.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 from 12.00–17.00 (GMT), Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

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AFAF supports The Freedom Challenge

16th Oct 2015 0 Comments

The charity WORLDwrite which celebrates its 21st birthday this year and its Citizen TV station WORLDbytes are launching a touring Pop-Up Video Booth known as the Views Box. Initially to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and inflate the debate on the liberty we need, the Views Box will tour venues and locations to encourage the public to have their say. The videos made will be released online for viewing across the globe to inflate much needed debate.

The Freedom Challenge

At its Battle of Ideas launch at the Barbican in October 2015, the Views Box will record up to 80 speakers sharing their thoughts on the freedoms we need today. From free speech, press freedom, freedom of movement, free association to everyday freedoms, Liberty lovers will enter the booth and share their thoughts to camera to raise the banner for freedom. Take a look at the Full Programme.

The Year Ahead

From its inspiring debut the Views Box is set to tour locations for a whole year to video voices less heard on mainstream TV, to cover issues that are challenging and produce programmes that inspire.

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Roy Harris Obituary

Roy Harris, who died on 9 February 2015 after a long illness, was emeritus professor of general linguistics at the University of Oxford. Roy was the founder of integrationism. He wrote many works developing the integrationalist approach to all human communication and was the co-founder of the International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication (IAISLC). (more…)

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Does Britain Need a Bill of Rights?

‘Adam Kissel – former vice-president of Fire – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the leading American campaign group for freedom of speech – starts his ‘Free Speech England Tour’ in Derby on Tuesday 17 March. In this short opinion piece he reminds us that, as well as the Magna Carta of 1215, Britain once had a ‘Bill of Rights’ established in 1689 as a result of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ that was the inspiration for the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776. (more…)

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New ranking exposes curbs on university freedom of speech

Written by Dennis Hayes for The Conversation. Freedom of speech is at the heart of academic life and a university should be a place where every issue is discussed and debated. (more…)

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University challenge – dare to debate

A new threat to academic freedom emerged with the recent suspension of Dr John McAdams from Marquette University in the US. (more…)

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