Univer­sity ‘safe spa­ces’

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor - Mar­garet Brown

SIR – I have fol­lowed the “safe spa­ces” con­tro­versy at Sus­sex Univer­sity (lead­ing ar­ti­cle, Novem­ber 5) with in­ter­est.

In 1961, the univer­sity was founded. Of the 52 stu­dents there, over a dozen, of whom I was one, were in the School of Euro­pean Stud­ies, the first of its kind in the coun­try. The aim of our tu­tors was to re-cre­ate Re­nais­sance Man, adapted to our times. The sub­jects of the dif­fer­ent cour­ses were var­ied, but they were all off­shoots of a be­lief in the cul­tural unity of Eu­rope.

Af­ter 1968, the univer­sity veered sharply to the Left. Vis­it­ing Right-wing MPs were more or less threat­ened with lynch­ing, and stu­dents de­manded a share in staff ap­point­ments.

The drive for “safe spa­ces” is just a log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment from this. The spirit of in­quiry, free-rang­ing thought, logic, and the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of cul­ture have been re­placed by pre-emp­tive polic­ing, con­ducted by self-im­por­tant Torque­madas who can give or with­hold per­mits. This par­tic­u­lar episode cen­tres on Bill Etheridge, the Ukip MEP. I am di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed to his views, but must up­hold his right to speak freely.

Per­haps the worst dis­ap­point­ment is that so few Sus­sex grad­u­ates seem to have con­cerned them­selves with this mat­ter. Our old tu­tors must be whirling like Cather­ine wheels in their graves at this ap­a­thetic ac­cep­tance of in­tol­er­ance.

Burslem, Stafford­shire

SIR – When I taught ap­plied ge­net­ics at Im­pe­rial Col­lege, I gave no “trig­ger warn­ings” about its con­tent.

My stu­dents were in­tel­li­gent enough to re­alise that I would be teach­ing about hu­man sex, an­i­mal sex, plant sex, and – hor­rors! – fun­gal sex. Dr Bernard Lamb Lon­don SW14

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