How to teach BNP students?

May 17, 2002

Lecturers who have to teach British National Party student activists have demanded a debate about "the implications and consequences of admitting students with openly racist views" to university, writes Phil Baty.

The Association of University Teachers is considering drafting a policy on teaching those with extremist views and rethinking its anti-racism policies after the activities of a Leeds student and BNP youth leader caused an outcry.

At the AUT's annual council in Eastbourne last week, Leeds AUT president David Parker, who said universities should never refuse to admit students with unpalatable views, called for a debate because of "serious tension" at Leeds.

Staff thought Leeds managers had been slow to act on several "incidents" involving the BNP. Some staff, especially ethnic minorities, were uneasy teaching BNP students.

Mark Collett, a third-year business student who stood for the BNP in council elections, has been campaigning on campus.

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