An anti-censorship desk to protect lecturers gagged by queers in universities

Transactivist censorship is rapidly spreading in Italian universities, preventing the free flow of thought. What is needed is a free speech law modelled on the British Higher Education Bill. And right now it should be possible to denounce intimidation in safety, without reprisals and dismissal.
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In British and American academia, deplatforming (gagging) of critical lecturers on free gender identity (self-id) is a well-established phenomenon. (we have talked about this several times, see here e here).

It was one of the main signs of the enormous lobbying power of transactivism. The case Kathleen Stock, feminist and lesbian lecturer at the University of Sussex, probably marks the point of no return: read the story here. Stock has suffered heavy attacks by a trans collective at the university, which requested the dismissal for 'transphobia. Stock was suggested to have an escort. It is unclear how the story will end, as a university union, the University and College Union, has called for an investigation into the professor's 'transphobic' positions, and she fears that his career is effectively over.

All this despite the fact that among the 30 or so bills announced in the Queen's Speech last May, in which Elizabeth gave a reading of the government's programme, there is also the proposal for a law obliging universities and also Students' Unions to guarantee freedom of expression to everyone, whether students, lecturers or external speakers, allowing those who have been censured to claim compensation. Education Minister Gavin Williamson called it the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill a "historic" bill, "a milestone" to counter "the evil of the chilling effects of campus censorship"on students, staff and speakers "who do not feel free to have their say".

La cancel-culture 'woke' (in essence, only the 'awakened' have a right to speak, and one of the overwhelming proofs that you are still guiltily asleep is to believe that biological sex exists) is also rapidly spreading in Italy. I have personally been silenced at least a few times for being 'gender critical' (transphobic, according to my accusers). The well-known Californian liberal feminist Rebecca Solnit refused to discuss with me (no-debate) 24 hours before our meeting that had been planned for months at Mantua's Festivaletteratura: see here. Some time earlier, an attempt at deplatforming was made by the director of the Fashion Design and Multimedia Arts degree course at the University of Turin.Iuav University of Venicewho asked me to withdraw from teaching because my 'positions' - without specifying which ones - were 'unpalatable both to the students and to me'. Of course I did not withdraw. My positions are being unilaterally described by a letter from the students, significant in that it is a literal 'photocopy' of the demands of the 'woke' youth on American campuses:

Dear Professor X and dear Professors Y and Z, I am sending this email on behalf of all of us students on the Master's degree course in Communication Management and Cultural Policy. We are puzzled by the appointment of Marina Terragni as head of the 'Philosophy and Ethics of Contemporary Information' course, scheduled for the second module. In light of the reactionary and exclusionary positions expressed in many articles on his blog and public posts on his social pages, we therefore oppose this choice. We claim this opposition because we consider his positions that are not simply far removed from ours, but more seriously offensive and irreconcilable with the project of IUAV and this master's degree. Suffice it to mention the university's openness to careers with alias identity', against theTerragni's opposition to 'self-id'. and self-determination of trans people, but also the unfounded criticism of queer theories, which we are happy to see included in the content of the master. This choice threatens the integrity of a pathway explicitly linked to feminist, intersectional and queer discourses, and potentially questions its classrooms as a safe space. We are prompted to say this first and foremost by Terragni's use of communication platforms, so central to this teaching. We ask for explanations for this choice, with esteem and trust in his judgement, but we support our position with equal conviction. We welcome his invitation to a transformative thought and practice, but this is not the direction in which we want the master to proceed. Cordially, the Master's Student Body

I am in an ideal position to fight against the gag: I am not economically blackmailable.. It was in fact only an occasional service for me. Not a teaching field. The situation is quite different for all those teachers who make their living from this and who are not in a position to fight because if they do they risk losing their jobs. They know that will find a position and retain it much more easily if they align their teaching with transactivist and queer thinking.

Students pay to go to university and they don't want any tricks: spaces must be "safe", i.e. you have to decide what you want to hear, and you have to get exactly what you expect (when in fact the experience of knowledge is to come across what you do not expect.).

La University Minister Maria Cristina Messa should be constantly updated on the situation in Italian universities: the phenomenon has not yet become chronic in our country. In order to ensure the circulation of free thought, one should think about a Higher Education model law (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

As early as possible, as soon as possible, you could set up an 'anti-censorship desk' at the Ministrywhich can be safely accessed by teachers, students and deplatformed speakers for a protection against violence against their freedom of teaching, guaranteed by the Constitution.

Marina Terragni


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