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The telegraph

Russell Group University accused of Soviet censorship

One Russell Group university was charged with Soviet-style censorship after new humanities courses had to be “deviated” from a “white, Eurocentric” curriculum. Academics at Exeter University’s Department of Social Sciences and International Studies (SSIS) were told to “incorporate” these changes when updating existing modules or creating new ones. One lecturer said he was “shocked” by the provision, claiming that the faculty, which oversees a number of disciplines including law, politics, sociology, philosophy, and anthropology, is “deeply” undermining academic freedom. “It’s like a Maoist cultural revolution is taking place in our learning centers,” one scholar told The Telegraph. “It’s just ridiculous – we’re supposed to be a leading university in the Russell Group.” This affects thousands of students and hundreds of academics. “The scholar said the curriculum” decolonization “movement had rapidly moved from being a” fashionable fringe theory “to being” adopted as the new orthodoxy “in universities. He compared the approach to the Soviet Union, where scientists might be asked to prove how its courses would advance radical socialism in the face of reactionary capitalist imperialism from the west. “What’s the difference here in Britain where we’re supposed to be a free liberal democracy?” he said. Earlier this week, the Queen’s speech unveiled a new bill on academic freedom that, according to Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson, “will end the dissuasive effect of censorship on campus once and for all”. Universities in England could be fined for not protecting free speech on campus under stricter laws. Academics, students or guest speakers can apply for judicial compensation if they suffer a loss due to a violation of the rules of freedom of speech. Faculty at Exeter University fear their courses will not be accredited if they fail to demonstrate that they are “decolonizing” their curriculum. A document called “SSIL Accreditation Coversheet” from The Telegraph states that any new modules or changes to existing modules must be submitted to the SSIS Quality and Standards team. Academics are asked to think about how you have incorporated and incorporated various concepts into your module design, such as: B. Provide a welcome learning environment, promote equality and diversity, and encourage student participation. As part of the accreditation process for courses due to start in September, faculty must also think about how to “broaden the epistemological and ontological horizons by moving away from a white, Eurocentric curriculum”. The scientist said this violated the university’s policy on academic freedom and also created a “deterrent effect”. He said, “There are a lot of people here who are just like me, but no one will come forward because there is a deep culture of fear.” An Exeter University spokesperson said, “The guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency calls on us to design the needs of all students – including those studying in different locations, with different cultural / educational backgrounds, with additional learning needs, or with protected traits modules to consider: “We are an international organization with staff and students from all over the world and from diverse backgrounds, and it is right that this should be recognized in our teaching, curriculum content and assessment.” A spokesman for the Office for Students said : “Freedom of speech and academic freedom are critical components of a successful university system. Students should be able to learn from a variety of texts, including those scholars who deviate from Orthodoxy. ”All universities will want to make sure that they are living up to their commitment to promoting academic freedom and academic freedom Are aware of freedom of expression in all areas of their work and of their obligations under equality legislation. “

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