Academic freedom and freedom of speech is more and more under threat in the “Western world": First, the University of East London (UEL) suspended anthropology professor Chris Knight, now they cancel the Alternative summit that should take place at the University campus, the Guardian reports.
Despite management efforts to shut down the Alternative London Summit on Wednesday 1st April organisers and speakers are committed to making sure the event goes ahead at the University of East London as planned.
Organisers are appealing to the public to join academics, union representatives and students in the occupation of the university in order to ensure that prominent political, scientific, academic and activist speakers who have remained committed to the event will be free and able to speak as planned.
It is vital at this pivotal moment in British and world history that we, the people have a public platform to understand and act on alternative ideas and strategies for our political, environmental and economic future.
According to Bernadette Buckley, from the politics department of Goldsmiths, the shut down of the UEL is “an astonishingly grim reflection on the state of academic freedom today.”
“The university is turned into a wasteland in the very moment when the university should instead be up to the task of hosting critical debate and be a hub of creative energies. This is not just about UEL, but about reclaiming universities and education in these times of crisis", a member of the Chris Knight Reinstatement Solidarity Group on Facebook said.
“I guess the summit organizers are now openly admitting what they’re really afraid: and it isn’t molotov cocktails. It’s ideas", the first signatory wrote.
A spokesperson for the university explained “that the potential scale of the event and associated risks had become unmanageable, and we would be unable to accommodate safely an event of this nature.”
>> Opposition grows as UEL shuts down for G20 (Wharf 31.3.09)