and Women*

The Oxford Student Union votes to ban everything.

A motion which mandates the Oxford University Student Union (SU) to condemn the use of “hateful material” in mandatory teaching was passed in Student Council this Thursday.

The motion also resolves to create a new SU Policy, entitled “Protection of Transgender, Non-binary, Disabled, Working-class, and Women* Students from Hatred in University Contexts”.

Note that transgender comes first and women come last (and have an asterisk, which oh what now).

Named the ‘Academic Hate Speech Motion’, the motion sets to establish a new policy on hate speech within the University to include ‘incitement of hatred on the grounds of gender identity, disability, and socio economic status, including to trans, non-binary, disabled, working-class, and women*’.

Current University policy on academic free speech protects most academic speech as long as it is within the law. The motion notes that hate speech which is ableist, misogynistic, classist or transphobic is not criminalised but believes that the University should amend the relevant policy to ‘ensure that trans and non-binary people, women, and disabled people receive equivalent protection from hateful speech within University contexts as groups which are protected by the criminal law’.

What protection is that exactly? What criminal law protects groups from hateful speech?

The motion also mandates the SU to lobby for trigger warnings on readings lists and for lectures, tutorials, and examinations with content deemed prejudicial against the aforementioned groups to be non-compulsory for students. It asserts that arguments based on “free speech policy are inapplicable” when students are “required by the University to listen to the speech in question”

And who will decide which content is “prejudicial”? Why, the very same people who are coming up with these motions, of course. They know best, and nothing will be lost by forcing everyone to obey their orders.

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