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UCU responds to HE minister speech on academic freedom

27 November 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Responding to higher education minister Bill Rammell's lecture 'Academic freedom in the 21st century' at a Fabian Society event this evening, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said that academics welcomed the government calling for debate instead of issuing diktats.

Sally Hunt said: 'This time last year academics, students and universities were united in their opposition to government guidelines for tackling extremism on campus. Our members have always been willing to have the debate and we are very pleased the government has now recognised debate, not issuing diktats, is the way forward.

'Those of us who cherish academic freedom are already aware of the need to use it responsibly and within the law. However, students and academics must never stop, or be prohibited from, challenging orthodoxies.

'Our university and colleges on the whole set examples the rest of society could learn from when it comes to creating diverse and safe environments. If we really want to tackle problems like extremism and terrorism then campuses must remain safe places for all staff and students to explore these issues.'