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Respecting different opinions and voices

Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell

Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell has issued the following statement to all staff and students.

 

This morning, the Daily Telegraph has reported on a seminar ‘Dealing with right wing attitudes and politics in the classroom’ that was held at the University last week.

Whilst the intention was to explore how to handle racism and homophobia, as a powerful blog by one of our students points out, conservative students feel diminished and excluded by their lecturers.

Racism and homophobia exist across the political spectrum and there should be no elision between right wing politics and extremism. Indeed, I have been invited to attend a meeting next week by the Labour Students Society to explore anti-Semitism on the left.

Universities are places that are defined by a spirit of critical enquiry, the capacity to challenge, and a celebration of different views and opinions. I am particularly proud to lead the University of Sussex, which was formed over 50 years ago to challenge conventional approaches to higher education.

Throughout our history, there have been profound and significant differences in opinion within our community, but we must never forget that we must value and embrace difference rather than try to shut it down. These values seem more important to me than at any time within my lifetime: the growth of incipient authoritarian attitudes in some countries that we have historic ties to requires universities to model openness and tolerance.

Many of you will know that I have appointed two Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Equality and Diversity because the University has a long way to ensure that all of our staff and students can thrive and I am pleased to be challenged out of my ways of thinking on an almost daily basis.

However, tolerance and diversity must apply to everyone.

Next week has been designated as ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and even the language is deeply upsetting to many members of our Jewish and non-Jewish community. During this time, it is imperative that everyone feels supported and we will not tolerate intimidation of anyone for their religious or political opinions about the politics of the Middle East.

Please could you all ensure that you continue to challenge each other in such a way that respects different opinions and voices?

 

 

 

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 24 February 2017

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