Union dancing to racists' tune 2

June 13, 2003

Lecturers' union Natfhe's views on supporting colleagues who refuse to teach BNP members are reminiscent of the fascistic approach of the National Union of Students in the 1980s, Germany in the 1930s, Saddam's Iraq and Bush's US.

As academics we should support free speech and the right of individuals to hold any viewpoint. We would happily teach BNP members, communists, anarchists, Tories, even Charles Clarke.

As long as students do not behave in ways that cause distress or harm to other students or staff (and we do not include trivial distress caused by politically incorrect standpoints), then we welcome the opportunity to offer a range of arguments that might help these students participate in dialogue, rather than be ostracised from civilised society and experience the resentment of the outcast and everything that might entail.

Nigel Hunt
Nottingham Trent University

Sue McHale
Sheffield Hallam University

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