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Freedom of expression

    • 1 posts
    May 30, 2018 10:20 AM PDT

    Hi everyone, Rev. Pj Croad here.

    Does this sound supportive of free speech to you? Or does it sound like a deliberate attempt to crack down on it?

    'A student must not intentionally or recklessly use the name of the University or any of its members in oral, written or electronic form (including social networking sites, fora and blogs) in such a way that either by content or expression it brings the good name of the University into disrepute.'

    This is a genuine clause in the Student Code of Behaviour (section D.2.3.20), used by Edge Hill University in the UK (which has a partnership with Truman State University in the USA (Missouri)) and despite the fact I am a postgraduate student with knowledge of the law, it has recently been used to prevent my own freedom of expression (I posted unfavourable articles about the place and its staff, but nothing about their personal life).

    As you can see, the clause written in such a way that even verbally complaining about any aspect of the University is banned. Harassed by staff? Can't complain. Sexually assaulted by a student (a member of the University)? Can't complain.

    It's disgraceful and illegal (it breaches the UK's Human Rights Act, article 10) and action needs to be taken. Its use creates a 'chilling effect' and prevents people from raising issues about the University.

    Now with large organisations such as well-known churches, fellow clergy would generally support a minister in a complaint about this. As an individual minister, this is not so easy - so I am asking if anyone would be willing to quite simply raise an objection to this illegal clause? If so, the place to e-mail is john.cater@edgehill.ac.uk

    Thank you to anyone who supports this. I know that Americans have stronger freedom of expression rights, but it's important that we British protect the few freedom of expression rights that we have.