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Universities must reject any attempt to gag academics – Archibald

9 March, 2018 - by Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said academics cannot be gagged in the pursuit of institutional neutrality. 

Speaking on the response by Queen’s University to TUV MLA Jim Allister the Party's Further and Higher Education spokesperson said:

"Queens University recently responded to TUV MLA Jim Allister, who had taken issue with an academic who offered his opinion on the influence of the media on politics in the north.  

“In that response Queen’s University referred to giving Mr Allister reassurances on academic neutrality, rather than defending academic freedom.  

“Sinn Féin rejects any attempt to gag academics. Academics are not bound to be neutral.

"Academic freedom underpins the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.  Academics should not be subject to government or institutional overreach in the course of their work.

"The governance structures within universities must support academic freedom and freedom of research.

"Academic freedom must not be undermined in the pursuit of institutional neutrality.  Likewise freedom of speech and expression of opinion by academics must not be subject to oversight in the interests of corporate reputation."

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