Gavin Williamson has accused unis of focusing too hard on ‘cancelling national heroes’

Oh come on Gav, have a day off

Gavin Williamson has pointed the finger at universities and claimed some of them are more interested in “cancelling national heroes” and “debating statues” rather than improving the lives of students and staff.

In a speech on Thursday, the education secretary said such moves only “widen divisions” between universities and the wider community.

He praised unis at first, before he continued to rip them to utter shreds. Gavin said universities are “fantastic communities” but they “are not perfect”.

Gavin then listed out several incidents that unis are guilty of. He says, “Whether it is antisemitic incidents, the use of non-disclosure agreements to silence victims of sexual assault, or increasingly casualised workforce or inadequate teaching provision for disabled students, there are genuine injustices and we should strive to get right.”

He then added, “Too often, some universities seem more interested in pursuing a divisive agenda”. He said this so-called “divisive agenda” is built from several things uni students are rightfully passionate about, such as “cancelling national heroes, debating about statues, anonymous reporting schemes for so-called micoaggressions and politicising their curricula.”

We can assume by “debating statues”, Gav is making reference to Bristol protestors tearing down the statue of a literal slave-trader, Edward Colston. And those “so-called microaggressions” he downplays are real life experiences from students who experience things like racism, sexism and homophobia both on and off their campus.

Like any other Tory, Gavin blames anyone other than himself (you know, the national education secretary in charge of education). Anyway, Gavin blamed Vice-Chancellors, he said any Vice-Chancellor who allows these things to take place in their uni “must understand they do nothing but undermine public confidence, widen divisions and damage the sector”.

Our Gav has been a vocal supporter of free speech on campus, the whole way throughout campaigns and conversations over decolonising curriculums, removing controversial statues and de-platforming questionable speakers over their views. He even backed an Oxford College’s decision not to remove a statue of a white supremacist which students have been campaigning for years to get taken down. He also dragged Oxford students from another college who had taken down a picture of the Queen, he said it was an emblem of “recent colonial history”.

It was only two days ago Gav mistook two black national heroes, Marco Itoje and Marcus Rashford, before he got absolutely rinsed on Twitter. So Gavin isn’t the sharpest Tory tool in the box, that’s for sure.

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• Nearly 30,000 students have deferred their places at UK universities this year

Feature image courtesy of Bart Lenoir on Shutterstock