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Manchester Professor criticises speaking bans at University

Professor Brian Cox has publically spoken out against the ‘no-platforming’ policy of the National Union of Students (NUS); describing them as “nonsensical”.

The policy asserts that no person or organisation should be given a platform to speak, nor should a union officer share a platform with them. Since its enforcement, a number of individuals or organisations, who are not deemed as suitable, have been forbidden from speaking or attending certain events that the union holds.

However, this policy has attracted criticism from several universities, including Salford, Durham, Leicester and Newcastle. These universities have deemed the policy as censorial and have attempted to overturn it.

Brian Cox, who lectures at the University of Manchester, told Radio Times “I suppose they’re trying to build a less aggressive space, which I understand – modern discourse is polarised.

“But university is supposed to be a place where civilised debate takes place. If not in the university, then where do you debate the most difficult questions? So, I disagree very profoundly with the idea that there’s such a thing as a safe space intellectually at a university. It’s nonsensical to me”.

This is not the first time the NUS have been in the spotlight. In April the President of the organisation battled headlines regarding alleged anti-Semitic comments.

In response to an open letter from Jewish students Malia stated “I celebrate the ability of people and students of all backgrounds to get together and express their backgrounds and faith openly and positively, and will continue to do so”.

Following referenda at 15 universities, 4 have voted to leave the NUS, causing a national debate on the efficacy of the organisation.

Is the NUS ‘nonsensical’? Have your say by commenting below or by tweeting @TheNubianTimes.


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Photo Credit: Bob Lee


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