A Tory MP has demanded to see what universities will be teaching on Brexit this year
Lecturers are not happy
A Tory MP has demanded universities hand over course material that will be used to teach Brexit this academic year, along with a list of lecturers' names who will be teaching the topic.
Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry in Northamptonshire and Brexiteer, wrote an actual, signed and stamped letter to vice-chancellors at the start of October asking for names and a copy of the syllabus and links to online lectures.
— Paul Mainwood (@deftly_admiral) October 24, 2017
Academics have accused Heaton-Harris of "McCarthyite" behaviour, referencing the American politician Joseph McCarthy who led a campaign of political repression against suspected communist sympathisers in the US in the 1950s.
David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, says he felt a chill down his spine when he read the "sinister" letter, saying it "is the first step to the thought police", and has refused to provide the requested information.
LSE professor Kevin Featherstone says LSE academics had been worried about Brexit censorship after a debate at the university during the referendum campaign was subject to an enquiry by the Electoral Commission. This was after complaints were made claiming the event was one-sided in favour of remaining in the EU, which LSE deny.
A YouGov survey states over 80 per cent of academics voted to remain.
Cambridge's Dr Julie Smith told students about Heaton-Harris' letter in a lecture last week:
“I told the students what my personal views were and emphasised that they were personal views. I voted to remain, but as an academic, my job is to impart knowledge, encourage debate and develop skills of analytical argument, not to impose doctrine.”