Camilla Turner at The Telegraph interviewed Dr Arif Ahmed, a philosophy lecturer who spearheaded a campaign at Cambridge University to amend a proposed free speech policy. The policy would have prioritised respect for different groups and opinions over a commitment to tolerance of free speech. Had the proposal passed unamended, it could have fostered division, resentment and added to a climate of self-censorship. No doubt the vote in favour of the campaign’s amendments alone will not stop those committed to a divisive new ideology dressed in the garb of anti-racism. But nonetheless, it is an important step in the right direction. DDU hopes more academics will follow Dr Ahmed’s example. He told Camilla Turner:
“I had always thought, and this has confirmed my suspicions, that the vast majority of academics are totally committed to the most robust kind of free speech, and have no time for no platforming or shutting anyone down.”
He said that had the university’s free speech rules, had they passed in their original form, would have had grave consequences for academics.
“One short-term fear was that by having a code that demands our research, teaching and writing respects the identities of others, people would engage in a kind of self censorship,”