University Chiefs Scared to Speak Out Against Prevent Legislation
By Simon Thompson
A vice-chancellor has warned that UK university bosses are accepting ‘counter-productive’ anti-terror legislation out of fear that they will be labelled extremist sympathisers by the media if they do not.
The head of Kingston University in London, Julius Weinberg, recently addressed a trade union conference in Liverpool, telling them that vice-chancellors feel under pressure to accept the conditions of the government’s so-called ‘Prevent’ strategy.
The Vice-Chancellor described his colleagues as follows: “Vice-chancellors are largely a liberal bunch, but they are under a lot of pressure."
Weinberg told the conference: “With 50 per cent of students coming from a black and ethnic minority background, there is a chance that a Kingston graduate does something daft. If that happens, I know exactly what the Daily Mail will say."
Addressing the contentious issue of so-called safe spaces in universities, Weinberg told the Universities and College Union conference that: ‘People should always be safe in universities, but ideas should never be safe.’
Prevent, which is the government’s flagship attempt at an anti-radicalisation programme, is part of wider scheme called ‘Contest’ which has been accused of perpetuating feelings of mistrust and widespread fear of British Muslims earlier this year.
Furthermore, earlier this month Oxford professor Timothy Garton Ash spoke out against the policy, arguing that Jesus Christ would be banned from speaking on university campuses were he alive today, due to ‘Prevent’.
The European studies expert argued that ‘Prevent’ now means that universities are forced to disallow even non-violent extremists entering their campuses. He addressed an audience at the Hay Literary Festival at the beginning of June:
"Some of you may know that in the new counter-terrorism legislation, the securocrats in the Home Office are trying to impose on universities a so-called ‘Prevent’ duty. [This would] call on us to prevent event non-violent extremists speaking on campus."
As the Daily Telegraph reported, Garton Ash theorised that these speakers would be likely to include Jesus Christ:
"Now non-violent extremists? That’s Karl Marx, Rousseau, Charles Darwin, Hegel, and most clearly Jesus Christ, who was definitely a non-violent extremists. The Home Office wouldn’t want him preaching on campus. This is a real threat I think to free speech and one we have to fight back against."
It is not just at universities where the policy is causing controversy - it has also faced heavy backlash in schools. Earlier this year, teachers also spoke out against the policy being implemented in schools, describing it as being used to ‘target young Muslims’ in a motion presented by the National Union of Teachers at their annual conference back in the spring.
This was as a result of frequent high profile cases where pupils were wrongly referred to police for comments made in classroom discussions.
A case in January made the headlines when a 10-year-old Muslim boy was questioned by police after mistakenly writing that he lived in a ‘terrorist house’ rather than a ‘terraced house.’ In February this year, a 15-year-old was also referred to the police after he clicked on the UKIP website in the classroom to research immigration.
So, you’re all set, you’ve got the approval and you know which halls of residence you will be moving into. Before you jump in the car and set off for some fresher’s fun, read this article for some top tips and bits of advice for moving into accomm
If you’re currently hunting for the ideal student accommodation, one of the
things you need to consider is whether a property’s design features will
boost your productivity and help you to achieve the grades you want.
That dreaded lump sum of deposit you have to pay before you move in is even more of an annoyance if you don’t receive it back. Student houses are bound to be messy and a bit chaotic, but if you take certain actions throughout the year, it’s not so hard to get your
Your years at university are likely to be among the most memorable, exciting, and fun years in your life. You will be living with friends, going out lots, and generally enjoying being young and still relatively free.
Despite this, it is easy to struggle at times, wheth
There is nothing worse than opening your laptop to a blank word document that needs to be filled with 2,000 words by next week. (Ok, there are worse things but it is pretty soul-destroying). It’s hard to stay motivated when writing an essay so we’ve
University is already a stressful time without the added confusion of living arrangements. There’s no official date or week when it’s best to start looking, but here are some of the main reasons why it’s best not to rush into a contract:
It’s that time of year where Graduate Schemes have started opening and the working world is nearing. Whilst Graduate Schemes are extremely competitive, they provide a high standard of training and open up future job opportunities. However, there is a whole ocean of gradu
A MacBook is the pride and joy possession of most students. They’re sleek, ultraportable and super speedy. That’s not to say, however, that they’re the only option on the market. If anything, there are numerous models which are much better value for money and perform jus
It’s September, the start of an academic year, and A-level students across the country are thinking about where they want to apply to for university. Soon enough, their parents will bring up the difficult question of where their university of choice ranks for their chose
It has to be said, one of the most liberating parts of freshers is signing up for every society you have a vague interest in. Whether it’s something adventurous like mountaineering, something boozy like winesoc or something a bit more unusual like battle re-enac
Freshers' week is quickly approaching so we've got a rundown of the UK's best freshers' weeks for you. If you're going to be a fresher in any of these cities this month, you're in for an unforgettable week.
Semester one is right around the corner, and while you still have a few more weeks to make the most of lazing around at your parent’s house, it’s time to slowly start thinking about the semester ahead of you.
Most of us go into higher education with the hopes of gaining a first class honour's degree. Getting that first may seem painstaking and at times impossible but I am here to tell you that it is much more achievable than you may think.
After your A-levels, you might doubt your university choices for location or subject. Likewise, you may not have met the right grades for your preferences, or you may feel pressured to make a quick decisio
If you’re doing a Masters you’re probably in the middle of your dissertation, right at the time when most other students are taking long breaks and swanning around Europe. August has hit and no doubt you’re turning around and wondering where the past year has gone. If yo
An obligatory part of being a student is being broke around 90% of the time and if you’re not, then you’re probably doing it wrong. To try and solve this problem, in recent years, there has been a surge of students swarming to charity shops with the hope of being able to pick
Fed up with the same old sports dominating the television and BUCS leagues? Wanting to try something new and a little obscure? Take a look at these weird and wonderful sports that are starting to make it big in the UK rig
With many anticipated releases still to hit screens this summer and later on in the year, it may seem like 2016 has just been getting started in terms of film. However, despite all the blockbusters landing soon, the first half of the year had some brilliant films that are wort
Studying abroad is an exciting and rewarding experience, but the preparation before hand is certainly less enjoyable. It is easy to put the preparation to the back of your mind and convince yourself you will research it later on. It is really important, however, that you are o
We’re over halfway through the year and have watched some excellent TV shows in that short time. With summer in full swing, there's no time like the present to hope on the sofa and binge on some excellent television. So, for your pleasure, we present a short list of the best T
Have any regrets on leaving university? Don’t worry, we all do. From not going out enough, to not studying hard enough, to not spending enough time with friends, we all have our own personal regrets on leaving university - how could we not? So, to make you feel a bit less alon
We've all been there. It's 5AM on a weekday night and you're stuck in the depths of a YouTube rabbit hole with no signs of escape. You're not exactly sure what you've been doing for the past five to sixty hours, but all you know is that you've learnt nothing.
Who doesn’t remember writing their personal statement? The hours of agonising over quite how many books to pretend you’ve read, or even how to get your teacher to write it for you without them realising it? Now that many of us have seen uni to the end, I thought it would be a
Your bank account’s on -£2K, all the pot noodles are empty, and the crippling pointlessness of your own existence is starting to settle in. Summer is here! Hurray! You’re back in with your parents now, after leaving the safety of the nest so you can pretend to be an adult for
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve noticed that more and more young people are running their own blogs these days. According to some recent statistics, around 70% of bloggers are under 35, and over 20% are under 20. This is no surprise to me; within a day
Parents: we love them really. They’ve helped us with our educations, fed us, clothed us, seen us through our awkward teenage years with astonishing patience and given us a place to live both before uni and during university holidays. And now, for those moving home for summer,
For a lot of students, a Research Masters, or MRes, is the first step to a PhD programme, and perhaps a career in academic research. For others it is an opportunity to continue studying a subject at a higher level than can be achieved during an undergraduate programme. Whateve
So, exam season is finally over. The weather has its fleeting moments of looking gorgeous and you can’t wait for summer to get into full swing. One of the things that got you through exams was the thought of a holiday away somewhere sunny with your uni housemates, but is this
Summer can be a time when the average student just lazily kicks around their hometown, waking up at midday and lazing about the house before collapsing back into bed again at 3AM. If you’ve got the willpower, though, it can also be a fantastic time to finally start taking exer
With up to three months off over summer, it’s likely that you’ll have the time to earn some money and gain professional skills through a summer job. Many jobs can be fairly enjoyable and flexible, leaving you with plenty of time to still enjoy the sun. It It is important to st
Your graduation is fast approaching and talks of wild celebrations are already underway. Yet you know it will end up in the same old club with all your friends getting completely twisted (as usual). To mark the occasion you're thinking of doing something different: celebrating
If you’re feeling the pinch at the moment and planning your summer, the humble ‘staycation’ might just be your ideal solution. If you’re willing to risk the British weather, rather than jetting off on a low-budget, sunny trip to Spain, there are so many beautiful and exciting
When you’re in the depths of your uni career, it's hard to even think about the fact that you’re piling up an enormous and seemingly endless amount of debt. I mean, I remember at every meeting I had in college about the prospect of higher education, they sort of just skimmed o
Like most students, you probably find that your student loan just never seems to stretch far enough. You keep telling yourself that you’re going to save money over summer to fund your extravagant lifestyle next year. Yet will you really be motivated when the time comes around?
Student life can get pretty expensive, and it’s the everyday things that suck your current account dry. Don’t let lack of funds get in the way of a good time - by following these tips, shopping savvy, and making the most of student discounts, you can live well for less and avo
Most of us will have grown up with the internet and social networks; from the days of Myspace to the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and professional networks such as LinkedIn. Nowadays, students and young professionals are using social networks as much for fun
Whether you’re in your first or final year, as a student the question of what you will do after uni is always lingering in the back of your mind. There are plenty of resources out there to find advice, yet it is often hard and time consuming to find out options specifically re
At university, a vast amount of reading is required – textbooks, theses, articles, novels – and it’s easy to forget that reading can actually be an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. With this in mind, here are eight fantastic books to get you reading for pleasure again this summ
With “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" returning to Netflix on April 15, you are bound to be drawn away from those textbooks and back into the world of your favourite cult survivor, evil president or female prison inmate/toilet hooch-maker. However, no matter how hard you try to ju