UK: Intolerance at Oxford

A debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life was slated for Tuesday at the university’s Christ Church college, featuring historian Tim Stanley on the pro-life side and Brendan O’Neill, a blogger and occasional contributor to these pages, taking the pro-choice position. You’d think exposing students to contending views presented by prominent thinkers was part of a university’s core function.

Left-wing student activists had other ideas. One group encouraged its supporters to take along “oh-so-disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate.’”

originalPhoto from Mauser 98 who does not think it is ‘shopped.

The Oxford student union’s women’s campaign, or WomCam, called for the event to be canceled, since “it is absurd to think we should be listening to two cisgender men debate about what people with uteruses should do with their bodies.” (“Cisgender” apparently is what we’re supposed to call men and women who identify with their physical sex.)

To its discredit, the Christ Church student union cancelled the event. This is part of a broader pattern of intolerance in British higher education. In June the student union at University College London banned a Nietzsche club for promoting what it called a “racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Marxist and anti-worker” worldview.

A number of student unions have banned or proposed to ban the Sun newspaper, owned by the same company as this newspaper [WSJ], over its Page Three content, which often features scantily clad women.

A report released this week by the Institute for Public Policy Research and totaljobs.com warned that too many British students are leaving school without necessary skills. Measured by employment rates, vocational apprentices now fare better than recent university graduates.

Here’s a thought: Being able to define “cisgender” doesn’t count as a useful skill, and schools that allow students to stifle free debate are depriving them of the intellectual skills that used to be the point of a liberal-arts education.

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  • Exile1981

    A Master of arts in womens studies? Give me a break, there is nothing you can do with a degree like that; so you owe 60K, why should anyone support you for having made an absolutely stupid life choice. Maybe you could have gotten a bar-tending certificate for 3-4K and then gotten a job at a better bar for more money.

    Or maybe you could have gotten a trade and earned even more money, but to think that a masters in something so absolutely useless will earn you major cash is a joke.

    We need a law that says from the day of the law coming into effect that a university has to make all students going for a degree in one of these absolutely useless “studies” faculties take a one day seminar on how there are no jobs and just how in debt they will be when they finish it. At the end the students have to sign a form that is notarized that says they understand the implications of their actions and that they will not be eligible for hand outs if they can not find a job with that degree. Make as a condition of the law that if a University fails to provide said seminar on job prospects to students then they can be sued by the students for failing to provide the evidence needed to make said good decisions. The universities will do it to prevent getting sued and the people who continue with the degree are doing so fully informed and no one can say later they didn’t know there were no jobs.

  • Brett_McS

    Here is the quite entertaining Spectator Podcast with Brendan O’Neil and one of the Stepford Students, as he calls them, who blocked the debate (and who makes a fair run at blocking her own debate with Brendan).

    “The Children are our future”. Pack more ammunition.

  • ontario john

    I know of someone at York University who has been taken native studies for years now and one of her courses is native drum lessons. She hopes at some distant year to enter native law, I suppose in the hope to have a career suing the taxpayers who have paid for her education.

    • Frau Katze

      If she is native, she will find something —they get a help that way. If not, she has not much future.

      • Bataviawillem

        Depends how you know.
        Because it is not what you know but who you know, in the kind of jobs that are closely related to government.

  • Dana Garcia

    Students should have to pay a lot more to major in silly crapdoodle like chicano & wimmin’s studies. It should be cheaper to major in socially useful subjects like science and engineering.

  • Clausewitz

    Any degree that ends with the word “Studies” is by definition a “Joke”.

  • Jade

    Women’s studies. What a an idiot. You where bamboozled the elite educational system.

  • Pontifex Maximus

    John Milton is not impressed! “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”