‘I needed security just to give my lectures’

Feb 22, 2021 by

from spiked:

Academic Selina Todd on her experience of campus censorship, and what we should do about it.

The government has announced new measures to tackle the crisis of free speech on campus. Selina Todd is professor of modern history at Oxford University and author of Snakes and Ladders: The Great British Social Mobility Myth. Todd is a gender-critical feminist, who believes womanhood is a matter of sex, not gender identity. Her campaigning for women’s sex-based rights caught the attention of trans-rights activists and, as a result, she was deplatformed last year from a Women’s Liberation Festival event. spiked caught up with her to find out more.

spiked: The government says it is concerned about free speech on campus. How bad is the problem?

Selina Todd: It’s endemic and really serious. Over the past week, I’ve heard Jo Grady, the leader of the University and College Union (UCU), and representatives of the National Union of Students (NUS) saying this should not be a priority during the pandemic. But universities should be completely democratic institutions. And you never need democracy any more than in times when you are at your lowest ebb – which, as a nation, we are.

About 10 days ago, somebody set up a website collecting testimonies from feminists who feel that their freedom to debate on campus has been compromised. It has garnered over 70 testimonies. People feel that this is a really pressing issue. Something seriously needs to be done.

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