From the Daily Telegraph today, which reported on a damning study authored by Matthew Lesh, into free speech at Australian universities:
RAMPANT political correctness is stifling free speech on Australian university campuses and students’ feelings are being prioritised over academic debate, according to a damning investigation by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Some campuses have banned the use of gender-specific words including “Mr”, “Mrs”, “man” and “sportsmanlike”.
And Western Sydney University has gone even further by outlawing the use of sarcasm.
IPA research fellow Matthew Lesh said the bans have led to many students being accused of sexism and others persecuted for their political views.
… Mr Lesh called for university guidelines and policies restricting intellectual freedom to be abolished…
“It is impossible to develop and discuss ideas in an atmosphere where certain concepts are restricted.” Cases highlighted by the IPA include: Students at Macquarie University will be accused of harassment if they say something regarded as “not welcome”.
Don’t dare say “man the offices” at Newcastle University or commend someone for being “sportsmanlike”, as anything with the word “man” is off limits, along with “Mrs” and “Miss”.
The University of Sydney’s Union has threatened to deregister an 86year-old evangelical society because it requires members to declare their faith in Jesus.
Mr Lesh also said a bid to set up a Men’s Shed group for male students to support each other at Sydney University was blocked for being “too masculine”, but was allowed to go ahead after it appointed a Queer Officer, a Women’s Officer and an Ethno Culture Officer.
The paper’s editorial also had this to say:
Politically correct excesses now dominate thinking at our universities, leading to a call from Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Matthew Lesh to abolish university guidelines and policies restricting intellectual freedom.
“We have policies that now forbid sarcasm and making people feel ‘uncomfortable’,” Lesh told The Daily Telegraph. “We need to have a public debate about this.
“Universities depend on free and open intellectual debate. It is impossible to develop and discuss ideas in an atmosphere where certain concepts are restricted.” But how is a debate over these issues possible given so many severe limitations?
The moment debate participants feel awkward or unwelcome, or if a point is made that may contain dangerous levels of sarcasm, the whole debate would be called off.
We need a debate on a better name for our over-protective institutes of tertiary learning. Maybe kinderversities?