Alarm over ‘shocking’ growth of student censorship support

Ministers in the United Kingdom have warned that students are showing “shocking growth in support for censorship” after a survey revealed that many favoured safety and avoidance of discrimination over unrestrained free speech, writes Richard Adams for The Guardian.

The survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that current students are more likely to support measures that restrain freedom of speech or expression on campus, and approve of removing offensive materials and memorials, compared with their predecessors six years ago, when it last conducted the survey. Nick Hillman, HEPI’s director, said the survey showed “a very clear pattern” of a majority of students preferring interventions such as trigger warnings on course content and restrictions on speakers. “This may be primarily for reasons of compassion, with the objective of protecting other students, but it could also reflect a lack of resilience among a cohort that has faced unprecedented challenges.”

But Michelle Donelan, the higher education minister for England, said the report “shows a shocking growth in support for censorship across a wide range of indicators”. “University leaders can no longer afford to stand aside, but must take active steps to combat these intolerant attitudes on campus, both promoting and protecting free speech,” she said.
Full report on The Guardian site