University of Lincoln ranked amber on freedom of speech

The University of Lincoln ranked amber in the most recent Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), the first nationwide study of its kind, Emily-Jayne White reports.

Over the past six months, online magazine Spiked has collected and analysed the policies and bans of 115 universities and student unions across the UK ranking each one using their traffic light system – Red, Amber and Green.

The results show that eighty per cent of UK universities, when both academic institution and student unions are combined, place mandatory restrictions on freedom of speech.

41% were ranked Red with active bans on particular ideologies, groups and individual’s whilst 39% were ranked Amber meaning restrictions on offensive or insulting speech

Only a handful of universities were ranked Green meaning the university has a ‘hands-off’ approach to freedom of speech.

In Spiked’s profile of the University of Lincoln, it states that the university has a chilled approach to freedom of speech and “restricts academic work and inquiry that is insensitive to cultural attitudes and opinions of others”. The students’ union was given a red-light as they maintain a “zero-tolerance” policy on initiations.

Tom Slater, assistant editor at spiked and coordinator of the FSUR, said: “The FSUR is a wake-up call. Universities and students’ unions must reform, lest they risk completely obliterating their distinct moral obligation to create the atmosphere of tolerance, openness and free debate is essential to the pursuit of knowledge.”

A University of Lincoln spokesperson told The Linc: “The University of Lincoln is committed to the principle of free speech exercised responsibly within the law in all its activities. The right to think and speak freely and to explore ideas is fundamental to the idea of a university.

“Upholding academic freedom and respecting the views of others are joint commitments shared by all members of the University and we have a clear Code of Practice on the Freedom of Speech, which is designed to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for all staff, students and visiting speakers.”

On the whole, the East Midlands fared poorly with the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent also ranked amber and the universities of Derby and Leicester were both given a red.

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