What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
8 views
8 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
49 views
49 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
93 views
93 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
79 views
79 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
111 views
111 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
146 views
146 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
111 views
111 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
248 views
248 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
190 views
190 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
202 views
202 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
232 views
232 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
323 Views

Richard Vaughan: Witch hunt against UCL professor betrays free speech

Richard Vaughan, a Masters student at Sussex, takes aim at the “trial by social media” and the University of Sussex Students’ Union for its record on free speech.

One of the many dangers of social media: the witch hunt (no pun intended) towards Professor Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prize winner who has made invaluable contributions to cancer research, who simply made a joke. Twitter and the media as a whole has in the last two weeks been awash with debate surrounding the biochemist who has made invaluable discoveries in the fight against cancer. Has the debate surrounded another discovery of his? Not at all. This debate centred on a comment he made in a speech to female scientists and journalists in Seoul. A comment which resulted in him being forced into resigning from his position as honorary professor at UCL after being a victim of trial by social media.

His crime? Nothing more than making a joke about female scientists; particularly how they fall in love and how they cry in the face of criticism. Admittedly this may not be seen as a joke that was in excellent taste, but that should not detract from the fact that it was a joke, something which until recently was seen as an acceptable part of human communication.

His joke spread quickly across social media, ignoring any form of context or even explanation, and instantly a large number of fauxminists (to consider them advancing the feminist cause would be inherently wrong) decided to take the most powerful feeling known to modern humankind: offence. Twitter timelines over the world became inundated with demands for his sacking, because as a white male he has spent the last few centuries oppressing everyone else and therefore deserves no human rights today such as freedom of speech.

Professor Hunt has become the victim of a society that feels it has the right to decide what we can and cannot joke about. As a result of these decisions, taken by some person who must feel they have some higher power, the media have been able to spin the story completely out of context and actually add in a quote about thanking the women for making lunch which now appears to not actually have been said at all, focussing only on the joke, not paying any attention to context or his own actual character. Perhaps it is a telling fact that many male and female scientists have publicly backed him in the wake of this ‘scandal’.

As has now become clear, in cases like this, context becomes crucial. All of the reports about his comments missed out two very important words he spoke after his joke: “Now seriously”, followed by praise for female scientists and the role they have played in South Korea. He went on to say that “science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles.” I must admit that I find it odd that the reports decided to ignore these words. Perhaps they did not fit in with the image they clearly wanted to create; one of a chauvinist who wants to oppress women, in the hope of proving that all men are evil. I can only hope that Professor Hunt gets the apologies from the fauxminist groups and journalists who tried to demonise him so openly. Only time will tell if that will happen.

If I am honest, I’m not surprised that this has all blown up completely out of context, nor am I shocked that people will take a comment made in jest and use it to demand that a cancer researcher loses his job. Student politics has long been making up rules about what we are and are not allowed to say.

Even our beloved Students’ Union at the University of Sussex appears to be making ‘one rule for us, one for them’ statements. This is the Students’ Union which tried to ban UKIP from the Question Time event on campus in the run-up to this year’s election, until a petition and poll of students found out that most felt that inviting all major parties to an election debate would help people make a decision on their own. It is the Union that holds a no-platform policy which ‘prevent[s] individuals…known to hold racist, fascist views from speaking at union events’. Who gets to decide what is and isn’t fascist? If you ask me, attempting to ban a political party that does not hold left-wing views seems a bit fascist.

I know that I’m not the only who thinks that the Union appears to take the view that the best way to deal with any opinions they don’t like is to ban them, stick their fingers in their ears and shout loudly so that they don’t have to listen. Unfortunately it is not a particularly mature way of handling opposition. But clearly it is effective: the Students’ Union has received a red rating from Spiked in an analysis of the University and Union’s policies towards freedom of speech.

Anyone who has had a vague conversation with me about the Students’ Union knows that I disagree with most things it comes out with, particularly our very own Communications Officer, Michael Segalov. This is the man who once posted on Twitter that he thought Tories should be banned from speaking at the Union of Jewish Students Conference. This sort of opinion appears to be typical of a Union which tries to ban any groups people might get offended by, and obviously as you can imagine, he would hold this opinion for anyone who might be perceived as offensive.

Not so. The name Bahar Mustafa may ring a bell. If not, I shall quickly recap for you. Ms. Mustafa is the Diversity Officer of Goldsmith’s University, who recently held an anti-racism event, but decided to ban white men from it. An unusual description of anti-racism, I’m sure you may agree.

She later posted a tweet containing the hash-tag “kill all white men”, although she claims this to be a joke. Naturally, she kept her job, as joking about killing all white men and calling people “white trash” is far more acceptable than joking about women crying. She also claimed that, as a minority, she cannot be racist. Mr. Segalov tweeted his support for her, including stating that the Union Executive Committee supported her on their official Twitter – although it later became clear that the Committee did not even meet to discuss it. He compared the tweet to a golf club which only allows male members, ignoring the fact that there are also women-only clubs. He told me that she said her tweet was a joke, and because she is a kind, generous person, he believed her.

I asked him if he would support a kind, generous white person who tweeted about killing all black men. His response: ‘No.’ Funny that. Freedom of speech for all, unless you’re white or a man, in which case, stop talking now before you offend me.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
8 views
8 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
49 views
49 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
93 views
93 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
79 views
79 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
111 views
111 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
146 views
146 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
111 views
111 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
248 views
248 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
190 views
190 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
202 views
202 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
232 views
232 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
2 views
2 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018
Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
4 views
4 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
8 views
Arts
8 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
49 views
Arts
49 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
49 views
Film & Theatre
49 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
76 views
Arts
76 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
73 views
Campus News
73 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
109 views
News
109 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
93 views
Arts
93 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
79 views
Interview
79 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
109 views
Lifestyle
109 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
111 views
Lifestyle
111 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
146 views
Arts
146 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
111 views
News
111 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
248 views
Arts
248 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
181 views
Film & Theatre
181 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
190 views
Sports
190 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
202 views
Arts
202 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
232 views
Arts
232 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1290 views1
Campus News
1290 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

News

What the Fawkes: Lewes Bonfire Night Approaches

kenyon55 - October 16, 2018

The Lewes Bonfire celebrations this year will take place on Monday 5th November, as an independent event run by Lewes’ seven Bonfire societies in collaboration. The event…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
2 views
National News
2 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
4 views
National News
4 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
38 views
Music
38 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
49 views
Arts
49 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
91 views
Music
91 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…

News
69 views

Maniac: a madcap adventure into troubled minds

Olek Młyński - October 5, 2018

With the release of Maniac, Netflix once again proves itself as an artistic powerhouse. This mini-series is a whirlwind of creativity containing often confusing, madcap ideas. But,…

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign
Sports
69 views
Sports
69 views

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign

James Cohen - October 4, 2018

In 1988 Nike premiered their, now infamous, “Just Do It” campaign, showing 80-year-old Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge. 30 years and a lot of…

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future
Science
108 views
Science
108 views

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future

ecrm20 - October 4, 2018

My project is about how we can explain the predictions made by machine learning algorithms. For example, if we have an algorithm that tells us whether an…

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close
Music
120 views
Music
120 views

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close

Dan Miller - October 4, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35890" align="alignnone" width="4544"] Photo by Lara Antoine[/caption]   The surprising news was released via the venue’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, announcing:    "There are far too many…

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot?  Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove
News
99 views
News
99 views

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot? Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove

Jessica Hubbard - October 3, 2018

Colourful Snail statues have appeared across Brighton and Hove. The Snails are part of an art trail turned fundraising initiative by Martlets, a hospice and charity. Fifteen of…