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Cambridge Uni redefined ‘tolerance’ after Stephen Fry woke up ‘confused’ thinking | UK | New UK News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled a new law to protect free speech at universities and allow those who believe theirs has been embarrassed to take court action to seek financial compensation. The Higher Education Bill, also known as the Free Speech Bill, will aim to end the alleged “non-platform” of speakers and academics on campus by awakened warriors. The Students Office will gain the power to impose fines on institutions and student unions for violating new obligations designed to foster “a culture of open and robust intellectual debate.”

The plan sparked a storm of protests from unions, with the Union of Universities and Colleges accusing the government of “embarking on a pseudo crusade for free speech on campus.”

It comes after the University of Cambridge rejected proposals for “respect” from all points of view as part of a new free speech policy introduced last year.

Instead, the policy will focus on “tolerating” divergent views after an amendment proposed by those concerned about the impact on academic freedom has been crushed.

It was put to the vote of 7,000 Cambridge academics, who recorded an overwhelming 86.9% majority in favor of “tolerance.”

The vote was greeted by Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope as “a categorical reaffirmation of freedom of speech at our university”.

He said in December: “Freedom of speech is a right that is at the heart of the university. This statement is a strong defense of this right.

“The university will always be a place where everyone can express new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, and where these views can be vigorously challenged.

“The statement also makes it clear that it is unacceptable to censor or dismiss speakers whose views are legal but can be seen as controversial.

“Rigorous debate is fundamental to the pursuit of academic excellence and the University of Cambridge will always be a place where freedom of expression is not only protected but strongly encouraged.”

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Mr Johnson’s plan was backed by former UKIP chief Nigel Farage, who called the move “vital,” while Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also backed the proposals.

He said: “The free speech bill will protect the rights of students, academics and speakers.

“Respect our manifest commitment and strengthen existing legal obligations.

“We want universities to be places where open intellectual debate is not limited by the deterrent effect of ‘canceling culture’.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-12 12:46:00