Cambridge University boss says 'shameful' wokery 'cancels' people

Cambridge University boss says 'shameful' wokery 'cancels' people

July 9, 2022

Cambridge University boss says ‘shameful’ wokery which ‘cancels’ or ‘viciously attacks’ people with opposing views must be stopped

  • Cambridge vice Chancellor Stephen Toope was unimpressed by political guest
  • Enoch Powell  spoke at Trinity College middle common room to the students
  • Students of the elite university ‘challenged him through robust questioning’

Cambridge University vice Chancellor Stephen Toope

University is ‘no place for cancelling’ or ‘viciously attacking’ people with opposing views, according to the outgoing vice- chancellor of Cambridge.

Stephen Toope condemned some of the elite institution’s academics and students who ‘lash out on social media in ways that are, frankly, shameful’.

As a student, he chose to listen to Enoch Powell, whose anti-immigration views he says he despised. But today, the ‘tyranny of small differences’ sometimes takes over the ‘ability to listen to each other, to debate, to challenge’.

Professor Toope used the annual Kate Pretty lecture at Homerton College to condemn the ‘emergence of extremism of all stripes’ as part of the ‘culture wars’.

The 64-year-old’s comments come amid rising numbers of ‘woke’ rows at campuses and attempts to limit free speech.

Professor Toope, who was born in Montreal, said: ‘When I was a PhD student here in Cambridge, Enoch Powell was invited to address the Trinity College middle common room. Even as an international student in this country, I knew what he represented. I knew what some of his views were, and I despised them. But still I went along to hear him. I chose to go – curious about what he’d say, and whether I would find any of it remotely compelling.

 Enoch Powell visited Cambridge university where the students ‘challenged him through robust questioning, and then we sent him packing’

‘I didn’t. His arguments did not win me over, nor did they appear to convince the vast majority of my fellow students. But that evening we listened to a man whose views we strongly disagreed with, we challenged him through robust questioning, and then we sent him packing.’

The professor added: ‘A university is no place for cancelling, or for viciously attacking anyone whose lawfully expressed views we don’t share.’ 

Fans of the comedian Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown are fighting a decision by council bosses to cancel his show. The 77-year-old had been due to perform at The Platform, a Lancaster City Council-run venue in Morecambe, next month. But when 59 locals accused Brown of being ‘racist, homophobic, and misogynistic’ in an online petition officials pulled the plug.

More than 3,000 fans and anti-censorship supporters have signed a rival petition, calling for the right to free speech and demanding the show go ahead.

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