Campus Reform | British gov't fights back against cancel culture at universities. Expert says US should follow.

British gov't fights back against cancel culture at universities. Expert says US should follow.

The British government announced measures to oppose cancel culture in the nation’s universities.

The nation’s education minister explained that he was “deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring.”

Other foreign leaders are noticing the dangers of American academic ideologies.

The British government is taking action to oppose cancel culture in its universities.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on February 16 that the government will seek to appoint a “free speech champion” to ensure that academics cannot be silenced for their opinions.

Williamson said that he was “deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring,” pointing out the need to “strengthen free speech in higher education, by bolstering the existing legal duties and ensuring strong, robust action is taken if these are breached.”

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“Free speech underpins our democratic society and our universities have a long and proud history of being places where students and academics can express themselves freely, challenge views and cultivate an open mind,” he added.

The government would impose sanctions on universities that breach minimum standards for protecting free speech. The United Kingdom is the latest foreign nation to oppose cancel culture, which is currently ravaging American universities.

As Campus Reform recently reported, French President Emmanuel Macron and other officials expressed concern about the "intellectual matrix from American universities” now influencing French academic institutions.

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“And in so doing, we have left the intellectual debate to others, to those outside of the Republic by ideologizing it, sometimes yielding to other academic traditions,” said Macron in a speech about French unity. “I am thinking of Anglo-Saxon traditions based on a different history, which is not ours. And when I see certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States, with their problems, which I respect and which exist, but which are just added to ours, I say to myself that it is reasonable to make this choice.”

David Randall, Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars, told Campus Reform that “Americans should take inspiration from peers overseas.”

“We must remember that the U.K. and France have far more direct central government control over their universities than we do in America,” he explained. “For better or worse, higher education governance is more diffused here in America — for the worse because ‘diffused’ often means that unaccountable bureaucrats can misgovern higher education here as they cannot in the UK or France, for the better in that the federal government cannot do such immediate damage here as it could there.”

“But the British and French examples certainly allow advocates of liberty to say concretely what America should do better, and reveal the lie in the claim that cancel culture is normal and irresistible,” added Randall.

Campus Reform reached out to the United Kingdom Department for Education; this article will be updated with any response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft