Chris Patten who claims to be the Vice Chancellor of most universities writes on a disturbing trend across the world – govts trying to intervene and influence univ teaching:
Universities should be bastions of freedom in any society. They should be free from government interference in their primary purposes of research and teaching; and they should control their own academic governance. I do not believe it is possible for a university to become or remain a world-class institution if these conditions do not exist.
The role of a university is to promote the clash of ideas, to test the results of research with other scholars, and to impart new knowledge to students. Freedom of speech is thus fundamental to what universities are, enabling them to sustain a sense of common humanity and uphold the mutual tolerance and understanding that underpin any free society. That, of course, makes universities dangerous to authoritarian governments, which seek to stifle the ability to raise and attempt to answer difficult questions.
But if any denial of academic liberty is a blow struck against the meaning of a university, the irony today is that some of the most worrying attacks on these values have been coming from inside universities
In the United States and the United Kingdom, some students and teachers now seek to constrain argument and debate. They contend that people should not be exposed to ideas with which they strongly disagree. Moreover, they argue that history should be rewritten to expunge the names (though not the endowments) of those who fail to pass today’s tests of political correctness. Thomas Jefferson and Cecil Rhodes, among others, have been targeted. And how would Churchill and Washington fare if the same tests were applied to them?
Some people are being denied the chance to speak as well – so-called “no platforming”, in the awful jargon of some clearly not very literate campuses. There are calls for “safe spaces” where students can be protected from anything that assaults their sense of what is moral and appropriate. This reflects and inevitably nurtures a harmful politics of victimization – defining one’s own identity (and thus one’s interests) in opposition to others.
No mention of India though..