The University of Lincoln and its Students’ Union have been given an overall ‘red’ rating in this year’s Free Speech University Rankings.
This is the third year running that the University of Lincoln has been given a ‘red’ status by the online magazine Spiked.
Spiked magazine compiles a yearly report to rank universities on freedom of speech, awarding them a ‘red’, ‘amber’ or ‘green’ status.
‘Red’ means a university ‘has banned and actively censored ideas on campus’, while ‘green’ means they have ‘a hands-off approach to free speech’.
The University of Lincoln received ‘amber’ status for its code of practice on freedom of speech, but combined with the SU’s policies, Lincoln was given ‘red’ status as an institution.
The magazine also gave Lincoln a ‘Ban of the Year’ award for suspending the Conservative Society’s social media account after sharing last year’s free speech rating.
The Free Speech University Rankings 2018 has landed. Though there was some stiff competition, our Ban of the Year goes to Lincoln SU, for suspending @LincConSoc’s social-media accounts after it shared Lincoln's 2017 FSUR profile. https://t.co/FjBeMrlHbl pic.twitter.com/6ipI5ozJI4
— spiked (@spikedonline) February 5, 2018
In the report on Spiked’s website, it says that the University of Lincoln and the Students’ Union collectively create a ‘hostile environment’ for free speech.
“The university has maintained its Amber ranking, restricts ‘offensive’ speech.
“The students’ union, which has maintained its Red ranking, has a No Platform policy, banning racists and fascists, and a Safe Space policy, which states that speakers can be ejected if any complaint is made against them.”
It added: “The institution’s overall ranking remains Red.”
In response to the report, the Students’ Union tweeted: “Spiked Freedom of Speech results are out. We are ranked Red again for following our regulatory body’s (Charity Commission) guidelines and having a policy for not allowing bullying and harassment.”
Spiked Freedom of Speech results are out. We are ranked Red again for following our regulatory body’s (Charity Commission) guidelines and having a policy for not allowing bullying and harassment. 😅https://t.co/iy5F6EQ0Kk pic.twitter.com/iPPBpMaR8m
— Lincoln SU (@lincolnSU) February 5, 2018
Kudzai Muzangaza, Lincoln Students’ Union President, added: “Following on from last year, our rating’s still the same, despite a more honest and transparent environment on campus.”
He also shared Spiked’s ‘Ban of the Year’ award with a trophy emoji on his Twitter account.
— Kudzai (@ULSU_Pres) February 5, 2018
The Linc has contacted the University of Lincoln for comment.
Update: The University of Lincoln has since responded to our request for comment, with a spokesperson repeating a statement made to The Linc last year.
They said: “The University is committed to the principle of free speech exercised responsibly within the law in all of its activities.
“Upholding academic freedom and respecting the views of others are joint commitments shared by all members of the University community and we have a clear Code of Practice on the Freedom of Speech within the law.”
Amatey Doku, The National Union of Students’ (NUS) Vice President for Higher Education, has also responded to the publication of the Free Speech University Rankings by Spiked magazine.
In a tweet on Twitter yesterday, he said: “Congratulations to everyone who got a red ratong on the @spikedonline “rankings”. Means your probably doing something right [sic]”.Tweet