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Letter to Master of Downing College about its new ‘Report Racism Guidance’

Downing College, Cambridge

We have written to Mr Alan Bookbinder, the Master of Downing College, Cambridge about its new ‘Report Racism Guidance‘ which replicates many of the legally questionable aspects of the University’s controversial ‘Report + Support’ policy which was withdrawn by the Vice-Chancellor last May after the Free Speech Union wrote to him to complain about it. You can read about this letter, and why we’re concerned about Downing’s new guidance, in the Telegraph here. We hope this letter will have a similar effect to our previous one.

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Letter to St Andrews about the diversity training students have to undergo before they matriculate

We’ve written to Professor Sally Mapstone, the Vice-Chancellor of St Andrews, about the University’s insistence that all incoming students should receive diversity training and then provide the ‘correct’ answers in a ‘quiz’ following the training before they are allowed to proceed with their studies. For instance, they’re asked to agree with the following statement: ‘Acknowledging your personal guilt is a useful start point in overcoming unconscious bias.’ In our letter, we point out that this is almost certainly a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits compelled speech, and might be a breach of the Equality Act 2010 as well as charity law.

Below, you can see our original letter and the reply we received from Professor Sally Mapstone on 3rd November 2021.

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UPDATE: We received a reply from Professor Sally Mapstone on 3rd November 2021. You can read the full text of her letter below.

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Letter to Professor Alec Cameron about the list of proscribed words sent to all new students in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Aston University.

We were contacted anonymously by a student at Aston University in Birmingham after he’d been handed a guidance document by the School of Social Sciences and Humanities that contained a long list of banned words and phrases. They included ‘mankind’, ‘native’ and ‘mixed race’. We have written to the Vice-Chancellor objecting to this and asking for his assurance that any students using the proscribed language will not be penalised in any way.

Letter to Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor of Sussex University, about the harassment and intimidation of Kathleen Stock

We have written to Professor David Maguire, interim Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, about the disgraceful attempt by campus activists to bully Professor Kathleen Stock into silence. When Prof Stock returned to work earlier this week she was confronted with stickers outside her office demanding she be fired for being a ‘transphobe’ and a ‘terf’. We have asked Prof Maguire to assure us that action will be taken, both to protect Prof Stock and to punish the organisers of what is almost certainly an unlawful campaign of harassment and intimidation.

Below, you can see our original letter and the reply we received from Professor David Maguire on 12th October 2021.

Letter to Provost of Worcester College About His Recent Apology For Hosting Christian Event

David Isaac, the former Chair of Stonewall and now Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, recently issued an apology on behalf of the College for hosting an event earlier this month for the Wilberforce Academy, which is part of Christian Concern. In a letter to students and staff, he said booking the event “was a serious failure that has caused significant distress” to students who discovered a leaflet from the event when they returned to the College. Christian Concern said the apology showed “cancel culture has once again demonstrated the power of its grip in one of our top universities” and accused David Isaac of “capitulating to an aggressive movement”. We have written to Mr Isaac pointing out that to exclude a group from holding an event on the College’s premises because of its Christian beliefs would be a breach of the Equality Act 2010, something he should be aware of given that he’s also a former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Below, you can see our original letter and the reply we received from David Isaac on 29th September 2021.

Letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University About its Shoddy Treatment of Professor Steven Greer

We’ve written to Professor Judith Squires, the V-C and Provost of Bristol University, about the University’s mistreatment of Professor Steven Greer, a distinguished human rights lawyer. You can read Prof Greer’s story in the Mail on Sunday, but the short version is he was falsely accused of Islamophobia by some Muslim activists who didn’t like his politics and then exonerated by the University, but the module he teaches every year about Islam, among other things, has now been removed from the syllabus. And the reason he was given by the administrators responsible for this censorship was that they didn’t want the course to attract any more complaints, even though the University concluded the complaints against Prof Greer were completely groundless.

Below, you can see our original letter and the reply we received from Professor Judith Squires on 29th September 2021.

Letter concerning Nottingham University’s decision not to recognise Father David Palmer’s appointment as Catholic Chaplain.

We have written to Professor Shearer West, the Vice-Chancellor and President of Nottingham University, asking her to reconsider the decision not to recognise the appointment of Father David Palmer as the University’s Catholic chaplain. Nottingham has 12 other chaplains of different faiths, all of whom are officially recognised, but the University has refused to grant the same honour to Father David because it objects to his opposition to abortion and euthanasia. Since that opposition is rooted in his Catholic faith, we think this constitutes unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Below, you can see our original letter and the email reply we received from Kirsteen Coupar, Interim Student and Campus Life Director, Nottingham University on 1st October 2021.

Letter to the Chair of the Cambridge Classics Faculty raising concerns about its anti-racist Action Plan

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Cambridge University Classics Faculty intends to include notices beneath plaster busts of ancient figures in the local archaeology museum explaining that the whiteness of the casts shouldn’t be taken to mean that the population of Athens and Rome was exclusive white. This bizarre decision is part of the Faculty’s anti-racist ‘Action Plan’ and, on reviewing it, we discovered that other aspects are more sinister and potentially unlawful. You can read our letter to Professor Osborne, the Chair of the Faculty, raising these concerns below.

Letter to Wigan Council concerning one of our members, Maureen O’Bern

Maureen O’Bern was employed by Wigan Council as a librarian for 34 years. But when she objected to the involvement of a Chinese state-owned firm in a major new project, because of China’s human rights record, she was suspended and then sacked. She is being assisted by the Workers of England Union and the Free Speech Union.

Letter to Kim Leadbeater MP concerning a teacher in her constituency of Batley and Spen.

Earlier this month, we wrote to Kim Leadbeater, the newly-elected MP for Batley and Spen, to ask her what steps she’d taken to help the teacher at Batley Grammar School who is currently in hiding with his family following threats to his life after he showed some of his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. She was now replied, so we’re publishing both letters (with her permission). In her reply, the MP says she will support the teacher if he wants to return to work, which we very much welcome.

Below, you can see our original letter and the reply we received from Kim Leadbeater MP on 10th August 2021.