Universities 'are killing free speech', says group of leading academics

Students are being denied the opportunity to debate conflicting views due to political correctness and censorship, the group said

Universities are "killing free speech" by banning anything that causes offence, a group of leading academics have warned.

Students are being denied the opportunity to debate opposing views due to political correctness and censorship, the group argued in a letter published in The Telegraph.

Academics led by Frank Furedi, a professor at the University of Canterbury, said universities see students as customers and do not dare to stand against them.  

The letter argued universities are curtailing freedom of speech “like never before” and also concluded that “students who are offended by opposing views are perhaps not yet ready to be at university”.

The group have called on vice-chancellors to promote freedom of speech and battle against censorship.

The statement comes after a campaign at an Oriel College at Oxford University to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus and benefactor, because he is regarded as being the founding father of apartheid in South Africa.

The letter described the battle over the statue as a “deeply worrying development”; after Oriel College said the statue does not comply with the values of a modern university.

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