Free speech and decolonisation in British universities
Think tank: Civitas
Author(s): Dr Richard Norrie
October 12, 2022
This report from UK think tank Civitas looks at the extent to which decolonisation is present in British universities.
The decolonisation movement is more pronounced in British universities than previously thought. In some form, either through official statements or academic advocates, it is present in seven out of 10 universities. In addition to this, we are seeing the spread of a phenomenon known as ‘decolonisation’. This is something that has no concrete definition and seeks to rewrite academic curricula as well as reorder the university as an institution, in the name of making them more ‘inclusive’. Is this a threat to academic freedom? The answer is ‘yes’, if it entails pressure on academics by radical activists to conform, overriding their independence in setting their reading lists and writing their lectures. This briefing assesses the extent to which decolonisation is present in British universities. It finds it to be far more entrenched than previously thought, with 70 per cent of universities having either a formal commitment to decolonisation, or academics advocating for it from within.