Cambridge dons raise free speech fears over new university website that allows students to anonymously report lecturers for ‘micro-aggressions’ like turning their back or raising an eyebrow
By JACOB THORBURN
- Report and Support website was set-up by University of Cambridge but was removed just days later amid row
- Deleted page intended to maintain ‘safe, welcoming and inclusive community’ for all its staff and students
- But Cambridge dons slammed the ‘micro-aggressions’ reporting tool as a ‘threat to traditions of free speech’
- Staff could have been reported for alleged offences such as ‘raising an eyebrow’ or calling a woman ‘a girl’
Leading University of Cambridge academics have slammed a website set up by the institution to report professors’ ‘micro-aggressions’ that could have included raising an eyebrow or turning their back on students.
Critics had described the Report and Support site, which could be used by those studying there to report ‘inappropriate behaviour’ from both students and staff, as a ‘threat to traditions of free speech’.
Report and Support was set live by the University of Cambridge last week but was taken down on Monday, May 24 after some ‘material was included in error’ according to the Telegraph.
The reporting tool would have allowed anonymous reports to be filed on ‘micro-aggressions’ – that included apparent offences such as raising an eyebrow, turning your back, giving backhanded compliments or referring to a woman as a girl.
The now-deleted page was set-up by the 800-year-old academic institution to create and maintain a ‘safe, welcoming and inclusive community, which nurtures a culture of mutual respect and consideration for all’, according to archived screenshots.
But top professors revolted against the implementation of the website, saying they feared for the future of ‘free and fearless discussion of ideas’ at the world-leading university.
The link to the University’s Report and Support website is ‘temporarily unavailable’. It is not clear when or if it will return, and students and staff have been directed to other online resources in the meantime.