A risible piece published by The Tab, a Cambridge online publication, three days ago. Extracts:
And the story doesn’t end there. Because just last week, the University came under fire for agreeing to host a talk at the Alison Richards building by the pathetically titled group ‘Justice for Men and Boys’, which claims that men are treated as ‘subhuman’ and are ‘relentlessly disadvantaged’ by the modern education system. This weird narrative may seem harmless, even if ridiculously embarrassing, but the briefest of looks at their websites shows the dangerous ideologies they promote. One article linked on there, entitled ’13 reasons why women lie about rape’, uses anecdotes to create sweeping generalisations such as that women will do so ‘when they fail their school exams’, a transparent attempt to discredit social movements promoting openness about sexual assaults by presenting women as inherently manipulative and deceitful. Others have even raised concerns about facing harassment from the group, based on their controversial and aggressive social media presence.
There is of course a substantial argument to be made that the University should continue letting people like Noah Carl, Jordan Peterson, and J4MB speak, as failure to do so would be an infringement on the principle of free speech. But an institution as prestigious as Cambridge has a huge responsibility and allowing such groups to speak here runs the terrifying risk of legitimising their prejudiced attitudes…
The underlying principle should therefore be that the University needs to consider the ethical dangers that come from any such extreme views and take care to avoid endorsing hateful speech in any form.
Surely the Cambridge Union does a suitable job of providing a diverse range of controversial opinions, without these views having to be legitimised academically by speakers visiting and working at the University itself…
Free speech’ is undeniably an important concept. But there’s an important distinction to be made between allowing people to share divisive views and handing them a microphone, an audience, and a research fellowship, all so they can continue to perpetuate hatred, pseudoscience and dangerous agendas.
So this article is a call for the University to please just stop giving sexist, racist, and homophobic public figures and questionable social movements a platform. Let them speak freely on the streets of Cambridge if they really want to, but not in our colleges and lecture theatres.
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