Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Trigger warning: Snowflakes about

The Times yesterday had a report that the University of Oxford has rejected a call by Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) to drop “ablest, transphobic, classist and misogynistic content” from its reading lists.

The University says, quite rightly, that free speech under the law is the lifeblood of the institution. The present Vice-Chancellor has, commendably, in speeches in recent years made that point and that students should expect to engage with challenging ideas as part of their education.

OUSU is, and has been all the time I have been in Oxford, a pathetic and laughable institution, run by people with petty little agendas of their own. As an organisation it was always a joke to those of us who were in any way involved in the life of The Oxford Union (OUS), which is entirely separate, or of our colleges, or indeed who had a life at all.

That is not to minimise the threat posed by such “woke” enthusiasts in places with a less robust or more amenable administration. Such censorship is dangerous and life-denying yo minds in formation. Censorship can have a place - but not in the contemporary world in a place of learning.

The article in The Times is behind a paywall but if you have access it can be read at Oxford ignores call to censor ‘ism’ texts

1 comment:

Tanq&Lime said...

A profoundly corrupt organisation when I was in Oxford; things may have changed, but it used to be notorious for electoral irregularities, dishonest hacks, and evil/stupid politics (where else could one hope to encounter unashamed Maoists in Britain?) Their attempts to scrap sub-fusc for exams - only to be told repeatedly by the student electorate that no-one wanted their idiotic woke reforms - did provide some amusement, though.