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Students fed up with woke culture at universities launch free-speech group

Students fed up with woke culture at universities launch free-speech group to embrace wide-ranging opinions amid fears debate is being stifled

  • Nationwide Free Speech Champions project aims to address crisis on campuses
  • Survey found over a quarter of students censored their own views on politics or ethical matters; 40% believed their careers would be harmed if they expressed true thoughts
  • There have also been concerns over speakers at universities being boycotted – or ‘no-platformed’ 

Students are launching a nationwide project to champion free speech in universities over fears that debate is being stifled in favour of woke culture.

It aims to address a free-speech crisis on campuses and encourage the young to embrace wide-ranging opinions without the fear of saying the ‘wrong’ thing.

The news comes after a survey found more than a quarter of students censored their own views on politics or ethical matters, and 40 per cent believed their careers would be harmed if they expressed their true thoughts.

Students are launching a nationwide project to champion free speech in universities over fears that debate is being stifled in favour of woke culture. The new students’ Free Speech Champions project was founded by Leeds University graduate Inaya Folarin Iman (above), 24, after she said a debate she organised was censored and subjected to ‘bureaucratic obstacles’

There have also been concerns over speakers at universities being boycotted – or ‘no-platformed’ – because of views the student body finds unpalatable.

The Mail on Sunday has set up its own Fighting For Free Speech campaign to tackle the issue.

Oxford historian Selina Todd has been no-platformed for alleged anti-transgender views, and teacher Will Knowland was sacked from Eton last year for refusing to remove an online lecture on ‘toxic masculinity’.

The new students’ Free Speech Champions project is backed by the Free Speech Union set up by commentator Toby Young and the Battle Of Ideas charity.

Oxford historian Selina Todd (pictured) has been no-platformed for alleged anti-transgender views

Teacher Will Knowland (pictured) was sacked from Eton last year for refusing to remove an online lecture on 'toxic masculinity'

Oxford historian Selina Todd (left) has been no-platformed for alleged anti-transgender views, and teacher Will Knowland (right) was sacked from Eton last year for refusing to remove an online lecture on ‘toxic masculinity’

It was founded by Leeds University graduate Inaya Folarin Iman, 24, after she said a debate she organised was censored and subjected to ‘bureaucratic obstacles’. 

After writing an article on the subject, many students told her they felt gagged because their ideas on Brexit or identity politics, for example, clashed with trendy modern beliefs.

Ms Folarin Iman said: ‘The places where free speech should be valued most highly – universities and online spaces – are where it is in most jeopardy.’

Mr Young said: ‘If free speech is going to endure, it’s essential that young people understand why it… needs to be defended.’

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