Malia Bouattia thinks safe spaces are actually good for free speech

Apparently the Government has done more to limit free speech on campus


The NUS President Malia Bouattia has defended safe-spaces claiming they protect free speech on campuses, just a week after she said she’s never said anything antisemitic whatsoever.

The outspoken voice of students nationwide criticised Theresa May’s attack on safe spaces as a restriction of free speech on campuses, arguing that it was the Government’s Prevent Agenda that had done more to create a “toxic atmosphere” where students felt afraid to speak out.

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In an article published in the Huffington Post, Malia said:

“Student unions across the country have democratically adopted policies that outline shared standards and principles which recognise and seek to combat discrimination and prejudice. This should not have anyone worried. Rather it marks a commitment to the inclusion of women, Black, LGBT+ and disabled students who so often experience unfair treatment – not only in wider society, but in the education system as well.

“If this will be made into a question of ‘free speech’ we should consider that safe spaces policies are designed to question just who is offered the comfort to speak and where our most marginalised students are being kept silent. This is the opposite of curtailing free speech; it’s a challenge to the conditions that currently make voices unequal.”

Safe space policies commit to ensuring that universities create an environment that allows students to feel comfortable in fully expressing themselves without fear of discrimination or prejudice.

However, critics have pointed out that safe spaces restricting limit diverse. Back in April, a student at Edinburgh University was accused of violating a safe space by raising her hand in disagreement during a Union meeting. According to the Union’s safe space policy, only hand gestures that signified agreement were permitted.

Instead of safe spaces, Malia argues that British PM Theresa May has done more to curtail free speech with her Prevent Agenda, part of the anti-terrorism strategy.

As part of this, Universities are required to monitor students who display radical beliefs and ideologies and report them to the authorities. Malia believes that “innocent individuals will be targeted” and that Muslim students will have to “constantly watch their words for fear of being referred for de- radicalisation”.