This university has introduced a class on how to deal with right wing attitudes
A university in Britain has been accused of blocking free speech after running a workshop for staff about “dealing with right-wing attitudes in the classroom”.
The workshop was held by a professor at Sussex University last week, but staff complained that it revealed the university has a political bias.
Posters were displayed around the university, which has an above average LGBT+ population, which was organised by Jan Selby, Professor of International Relations and the director of the university’s Centre for Conflict and Security.
A politics professor at the university, Dan Hough, tweeted a photo of the poster, with the message: “Perhaps we should just talk about, analyse and then evaluate all positions in any given debate, no?”
A third year history and politics student, Harry Howard, spoke to the Telegraph to say he was “shocked and angry” by the poster’s wording.
Howard said there is a “worrying aversion” to right-wing attitudes at the university.
Adding that “universities should be intellectually diverse, rather than echo chambers of left wing opinion”.
Another professor at the university, Claire Annesley, who is head of the law, politics and sociology faculty, wrote a blog post following the controversy.
She wrote: “Silencing student voices is never what we aspire to as a department.”
The university responded to say that the workshop was about “challenging extreme attitudes, such as racist or homophobic comments”, but that the “wording” of the poster had not accurately reflected the content.
A professor at Buckingham University, Alan Smithers, said it was “alarming” that Sussex had allowed the workshop to go ahead.
“The university is letting its prejudices show if it is conflating right-wing opinions with homophobia and racial prejudice,” he told the Telegraph.
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“It is very sad the way universities are going. Within universities there has always been a spectrum of views and one of the pleasures of universities is having them rub against each other.
“That is what university is about – enabling its students to think widely and critically and come to their own views crucially backed by evidence.”
A spokesman for the university told the Telegraph said the poster “did not reflect the aims of the discussion”.
They added: “The University will never try to stifle diverging political views, which are an essential part of learning.
“The University will address any instances where it feels its freedom of speech policy is being curtailed in anyway.”
Last year a university ignored multiple warnings about a speaker’s extreme views and history of abusive behaviour – leaving him free to single out a trans student and bully them on-stage.