Students at Oxford University’s St Hugh’s college have been told that they must be prepared to be active anti-racists, being simply not racist “isn’t good enough.”
The college’s undergraduates were encouraged to “make time” to attend the ‘It’s About Race’ event. One slide of the indoctrination session read: “Are you racist? ‘No’ isn’t a good enough answer.”
The slide continued: “We need to… stop thinking that injustice going on in the world isn’t to an extent are [sic] fault… Stop being a non-racist and start being an anti-racist.”
Another slide under the banner, “commitment to action” asked: “What is your individual contribution/commitment/pledge to tackle inequality and racism?”
A St Hugh’s spokesman said: “As with all training, we are evaluating and reviewing this course.”
The anti-racism course is being given to students despite evidence from the Cabinet Office that they do not work. Whitehall’s top officials have found that such courses have “no sustained impact on behaviour and may even be counter-productive”.
Universities across the UK have been at the heart of the debate surrounding woke attacks on free speech and British culture following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
In June 2020, Oxford University’s Oriel College voted to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, arguing the statue of the mining magnate which stood on College grounds was a symbol of imperialism and racism.
No-platforming has become such an issues at British universities that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced new laws to safeguard free speech at Britain’s universities. Unions, faculties and societies could face fines for stifling open expression of views.
Williamson said: “Free speech underpins our democratic society and our universities have a long and proud history of being places where students and academics can express themselves freely, challenge views and cultivate an open mind.
“But I am deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring. That is why we must strengthen free speech in higher education, by bolstering the existing legal duties and ensuring strong, robust action is taken if these are breached.”