University students in the United Kingdom apparently are all for free speech on campus.
As long as it agrees with them.
That became known after the student union at Portsmouth University shut down a scheduled campus address by columnist Peter Hitchens, a writer for the Mail on Sunday.
It was the union president, Violet Karapaseva, who claimed her group is “committed to ensuring freedom of speech on the University of Portsmouth campus.”
Unless, that is, “the speaker’s previously published views do not align with our current celebration of the LGBT+ community.”
The student group recently retracted its invitation to Hitchens because of the “clash” with their agenda.
The union claimed it wanted to reschedule the event, but Hitchens said the group’s decision already has broken “the principle of free speech.”
The writer and broadcaster, the brother of the late journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, had been in discussions about speaking at Portsmouth University’s student union Feb. 12.
The BBC reported Hitchens described being “censored” by the students.
Hitchens is a former foreign correspondent both in Moscow and Washington.
He’s published eight books, including “Abolition of Britain” and “The Rage Against God.”
“It doesn’t seem to be the point – what does it matter if there happened to be a LGBT+ event the same week? If someone has been invited to speak, there is no excuse, especially in an institution devoted to freedom of thought, speech and education,” Hitchens told the BBC.
“Here at a university where people are supposed to be free to speak and think as they wish, people actually aren’t.”
Parliament released a report last year concluding “intolerant attitudes” are threatening free speech on the U.K.’s college campuses.
Hitchens told BBC’s Radio 4 there’s never a reason for silencing contrary opinions.
“They stopped the meeting because they didn’t like my opinions. Why would that change next month?” Hitchens asked.
According to the Christian Institute, the British government just released new guidance to protect free speech on campuses.
It explains everyone has a right to express their views, even if they “offend, shock or disturb” others.
The 53-page document from the Equality and Human Rights Commission encourages university institutions to expand the debate, rather than restrict it to politically correct perspectives.
David Isaac, chairman of the EHRC, said: “The free expression and exchange of different views without persecution or interference goes straight to the heart of our democracy and is a vital part of education.”