The University of Warwick is ‘Hostile to Free Speech’, Study Says

The University of Warwick are ‘hostile’ towards free speech on campus, according to a recent report by Spiked Online. The report has cast doubt over the notion that a University campus is a location which allows students and staff to engage in free speech. The report suggests very few Universities in the United Kingdom actually actively promote freedom of speech on campus. Some, they suggest, actively block freedom of speech. In this article, we take a look at the report on Warwick.

 

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Questions have been asked regarding freedom of speech on campuses at UK Universities

 

The report was the 2018 edition of Spiked Online‘s annual free speech rankings, with 115 Universities being ranked. The report examined any policies or actions that a University or Student Union employs, and analyses the threat each poses to freedom of speech on campus. These can include specific speakers being banned, censorship and other policies. The organisation subsequently rank each University using a traffic-light system. Red denotes the institution is ‘hostile to free speech’. Amber suggests it ‘chills free speech’, with Green suggesting the University has a ‘hands-off approach’ to free speech. Click here for a full explanation.

 

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The study gives Warwick a red rank. The study concludes that the University and Students’ Union ‘collectively create a hostile environment for free speech’. The University was handed an amber ranking – due to how it insists that visiting speakers avoid ‘insulting other faiths’. However the Union is ranked as red – due to how it ‘bans sexist, racist and homophobic songs, and has banned an anti-Islamist speaker’. This averages out as a red mark – and marks the fourth successive year that the University has ranked there.

 

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Looking at the overall conclusions – surprisingly only seven of the 115 institutions analysed were given a green rating. Among them were the University of Buckingham, Robert Gordon University, Trinity St. David, and the University of Winchester. No traditional, long-established University attained a green rating, while the vast majority of London-based institutions were ranked as red. 63 Universities in total were given a red ranking, with 45 Universities attaining an amber rating. It should be noted that some have disputed the accuracy and methodology of the report.

 

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There have been a range of freedom of speech-related controversies around the United Kingdom

 

 


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So a disappointing result for the University of Warwick – with the report having a negative outlook on freedom of speech on the institution’s campus. A University is somewhere that freedom of speech should be encouraged and harnessed to help students debate and achieve their potential. Yet it is equally important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable. Sometimes it seems these two elements cannot function alongside one another, which is disappointing.

 

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Worrying Mental Health Statistics at Warwick University Revealed

Statistics concerning the mental health of students at the University of Warwick have been released – with the figures revealing the scale of mental health problems facing students at the University. In the 2016/17 academic year – over 2,300 students at the University used the institution’s counselling services. With around 25,000 students at the University, this means around 10% of all students sought counselling. As will be discussed further, demand for counselling services at the University has surged in recent years. Read on for more.

 

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Concerns over mental health problems continue to rise

 

In total, 2,372 students at the University of Warwick accessed counselling services in the 2016/17 academic year. This total has risen enormously in recent years. Over the past seven years, there has been a 61% rise in the amount of students seeking counselling help. Counselling can help students with a number of issues, though the statistics also revealed that anxiety and depression are the main causes for students seeking help. These two issues are prominent for students around the United Kingdom – with other Universities reporting similar percentages.

 

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As seen from the rise in recent years, the University of Warwick has witnessed a surge in students requesting help with mental health problems. Yet this isn’t something purely limited to Warwick – with other Universities reporting similar statistics. These are difficult times to be a student – with uncertainty over the future, higher tuition fees than ever before and with the job market being at an unprecedented level of competitiveness. There is a pressure like never before on students to succeed – which can lead to these mental health problems developing or aggravating.

 

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Perhaps the most worrying news is that the figures mean a scarcely-believable 10% of students sought counselling help. While there is no suggestion anything malicious is happening at the University, questions could be asked as to why this figure is so much higher than many other Universities. It is also apparent that some students suffer in silence. Mental health problems can leave someone feeling ‘trapped’. It is likely this figure would be even higher, which again is worrying for anyone connected to the University.

 

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There are countless pressures facing students

 


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This is certainly a tough time to be a student. However it is encouraging to see that more people are coming forward with their mental health concerns – and that the stigma finally appears to be going away. While Universities all around the United Kingdom need to improve their current provisions for mental health, it appears that some positive steps have been taken in recent months in the battle against mental health problems. Hopefully this trend will continue. Remember you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 – should you ever need.

 

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Controversy over Lecture Held at Warwick Uni, With Jews Reportedly ‘Barred’

There has been considerable controversy recently emanating from allegations that Jewish individuals were barred from a lecture taking place at the University of Warwick. The lecture was based around the topic of alleging that Israel was intentionally undermining the fertility of Palestinians. While a controversial topic in itself, the event attracted further controversy over the allegations of three Jewish individuals being barred from entering. This has inevitably provoked a furious response, with many accusations of anti-Semitism. Read on for the full story.

 

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The lecture took place at the University of Warwick

 

The incident happened at a public lecture, being taken by Sigrid Vertommen, an academic at King’s College London. As mentioned, the lecture tackled the topic of Israel’s effect on the fertility of Palestinians. The discussion centred around Israel’s policy of subsiding multiple fertilisation procedures for its citizens – and the effect this has on the Palestinian population. While certainly a controversial topic, the Jewish/Israeli society of the University suggested the event wasn’t anti-Semitic, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

 

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David Collier – who blogs on anti-Semitism, suggested he was barred from the event, along with two other Jews – Mandy Blumenthal and Yochy Davis. They appeared to encounter difficulty when they attempted to enter the event. They alleged that Lisa Tilley – a faculty member of Warwick’s School of Politics and International Relations – was responsible, refusing to allow them to enter after inspecting their identity cards. Collier wrote a blog entry on the incident, which you can read here. Tilley contacted the Jewish Chronicle, suggesting that any allegation of anti-Semitism was ‘completely false’.

 

This case however provoked a furious response, with much anger directed at the University of Warwick – despite the event not having been arranged by the University. Shimon Samuels – the director of International Relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center – a Jewish human rights organisation – suggested the University of Warwick was the ‘leading University in the United Kingdom in terms of denying Israel’s right to exist’. The University of Warwick responded by saying that the event had been ‘organised by a group of researchers and students’ – not the University.

 


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The topic of Eugenics is continuously controversial. The allegations are unfortunate – and have provoked a serious backlash. While the University of Warwick has suggested they had very little to do with the event, a staff member seems to have played a major role in the case, while the lecture did take place on University grounds. However, freedom of speech is crucial at Universities, and not everyone has denounced the event as ‘Anti-Semitic’. A conclusion to this case remains to be seen, with the University set to investigate.

 

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Warwick in Top Three for Sought-After Graduates for Employers

A review has revealed that the University of Warwick has placed in the top three in Universities in the United Kingdom for the number of graduates being targeted by ‘top employers’. This comes as great news for students at Warwick, who can take considerable confidence from this result – with top companies clearly interested in the output of this University! The review came from the highly-respected High Fliers Research – you can visit their website here. Read on for the full story of this great news!

 

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Good news for students at the University!

 

The review – entitled ‘The Graduate Market in 2018, was produced by High Fliers Research (click here to see the full report). They used data from a wide array of sources to come up with their top ten Universities in terms of the most sought-after graduates from top employers. Top employers include PwC, HSBC, BP, Unilever and the NHS. These employers typically have graduate schemes that are hugely popular and competitive. In good news, Warwick placed 3rd in the table – testament to the strong reputation of our University.

 

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In terms of others in the top ten, it was the University of Manchester that topped the table. The University of Birmingham came home 2nd, with as mentioned Warwick completing the podium positions. UCL and the University of Leeds were among the others in the top ten. Unsurprisingly, the University of Cambridge and Oxford University finished in the top ten, placing 6th and 9th respectively. It is somewhat surprising that neither topped the list, given their reputation.

 


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This is some great news for all of the students at Warwick! The fact that top employers are actively recruiting Warwick students is very motivating! It is also impressive that Warwick finished above both Oxford and Cambridge in this table – certainly no mean feat. It is clearly worth keeping up the hard work, with the graduate job of your dreams seemingly reachable! For any guidance for your time at University, our advice articles are here.

 

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New McDonald’s Coming to Warwick?!

In some good news for McDonald’s fans, a new fast-food restaurant could soon be coming to Warwick. Plans have been submitted which would result in a new McDonald’s, complete with a Drive-Thru, to be built in Warwick. This is good news for students at Warwick University, and the wider community, with McDonald’s continuing to be one of the United Kingdom’s favourite restaurants. Read on for details, including the planned location for the potential new branch and further details.

 

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Good news for food fans [file photo]

The plans submitted show that McDonald’s hope to build a 24-hour restaurant, utilising some of the space of the Tesco superstore on Emscote Road. Specifically, some of the car parking area of Tesco would be used by McDonald’s, with 31 parking spaces also being added. McDonald’s have also said that 65 jobs will be created by these proposals. However, the proposals are subject to planning permission. Unfortunately for fast-food fans, there has been some opposition in the local area.

 

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Objections are mainly concerned with rubbish and traffic levels. It is common for takeaway outlets to have large amounts of rubbish left in the area by customers, with this creating a dirty looking environment. Others suggest it will cause worse traffic on Emscote Road – which is already known for being a busy road. Some concerns have been raised about the Tesco superstore losing some of its car parking spaces. Finally, takeaways in the area could lose out if the behemoth that is McDonald’s takes up residence in the area.

 

 


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Some residents however feel this is long overdue – with McDonald’s only having a limited presence in the area. The nearest outlet is in nearby Leamington – an unrealistic location for several people to reach. The Tesco superstore is also built on a large plot of land, which could make it realistic for the area to host a McDonald’s outlet. With the plans submitted, it is now a matter of waiting and seeing what happens.

 

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Warwick Staff Member Cleared Following Racial Allegations

An investigation into alleged racist behaviour by a member of staff at the University of Warwick has cleared the individual involved. The staff member allegedly said that ‘black people disadvantage themselves’, when talking about job applications. A complaint was made, leading to the case being investigated by the University. The case began back in October, when a student took to Twitter to complain about the incident. See below for the original Tweets. Read on for the full story.

 

 

The original event happened in a seminar, where the student claimed that the staff member said that black candidates handed in their applications later than white candidates. She went on to say that black people were ‘generally laid back’. These statements drew the ire of one student, who took to Twitter in response. The incident gained attention on Twitter, with many responding to the original Tweet in solidarity. The University responded, deciding to conduct an investigation after a complaint was made.

 

The investigation has recently finished, having found that while the staff member had shown ‘poor judgement’, she hadn’t been ‘intentionally racist’ in her dealings. Looking back on the case, the staff member certainly shouldn’t have made such generalisations. It was unfortunate, but it appears that she didn’t mean to be racist. The case now appears to be closed, following this unfortunate process.

 


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Universities are certainly places where people should be free to exercise and argue any opinion they want. But sometimes these opinions can go too far and cause offence, as seen in this case. While freedom of speech is a crucial doctrine, there is a limit to what can be said. While the staff member here wasn’t intentionally being racist, offence was taken – the case now appears to be closed.

 

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