John Armstrong, a Reader in Financial Mathematics at King’s College London, has written an excoriating piece in the Spectator about the capture of Imperial College by the woke cult, with anyone who dissents from its agenda, however potty, being penalised by their peers and/or the university authorities. Even people aware of the the war on free speech in Britain’s elite universities will find this piece eye-opening. It begins:
We have become used to the erosion of academic freedom in the humanities and social sciences. It is no longer surprising to find that a Gender Studies department holds the institutional view that it is racist and colonialist to say that sex is binary, or promotes a student essay which fantasises about holding a knife to the throat of gender-critical women.
But attacks on academic freedom are not restricted to gender studies and anthropology departments anymore. Academics in all fields are now under pressure to conform to fashionable theories on gender and race. Indeed, science-focused institutions can, paradoxically, be especially susceptible to this, because of their lack of expertise when it comes to social issues.
Imperial College London, which specialises in science, engineering, medicine and business, is a case in point. Through their equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) web pages, they urge staff to be LGBTQ+ allies. The word ‘ally’ is carefully chosen for plausible deniability (what kind of monster wouldn’t want to be an ally to a marginalised community?). But in reality what is being promoted is uncritical allyship with Stonewall, who are mentioned 10 times on just one page. This is not subtle: staff are even encouraged to donate to Stonewall.
Even the most senior staff at Imperial seem afraid of expressing opposing views. In 2019, an LGBT allyship network organised a letter criticising professor Simone Buitendijk, then Vice Provost of Education, for the crime of liking and linking to ‘transphobic’ material on Twitter. This included “a good piece on gender self-identification and women’s rights” in the Spectator. After meeting with professor Stephen Curry, Imperial’s Vice Provost (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Buitendijk issued an abject apology, stating: “I now realise that social media is not the correct forum for such sensitive debates.”