Cambridge removes website where dons can be reported for “raising an eyebrow”

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Toby Young, general secretary of the FSU, wrote to the vice-Chancellor claiming that the website and policy “proposed a system of policing speech and everyday interaction” which would be “inconsistent” with its duty to uphold free speech. He pointed out that section 43 of the Education Act 1986 requires universities to take reasonably practical steps to secure freedom of speech within the law for employees. “This policy, as you must be aware, would radically interfere with how your academics teach, argue with and learn from students, as well as how students interact with each other,” Mr Young said. “It would mean academics and students were under constant threat of being reported and investigated for having committed some wholly innocent but perceived slight, which would inevitably have a chilling effect on interactions that, in a university, should be free and unguarded.” Mr Young added that should the policy reappear in anything like its original form, the FSU would “seek to challenge its lawfulness in the High Court”.

Camilla Turner and Pravina Rudra, The Telegraph, 24th May 2021.