University ‘safe spaces’
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 The spirit of inquiry, free-ranging thought, logic, and the appreciation of culture have been replaced by pre-emptive policing, conducted by self-important Torquemadas who can give or withhold permits.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.
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