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The right to free speech at UK universities is a supposed entitlement of entering higher education to think, speak and write freely. This right is necessary for students in academia to flourish with their discipline. Yet the right to free speech is not an escape clause for individuals to speak and write freely without consequences for their views. So where does this place atheist students at UK universities?
Does free speech entitle people to say whatever they please? In brief, no. To attack, humiliate and/or demonise people is discriminatory in nature and can be interpreted as hate speech. Nevertheless, the right to free speech is essential for a democratic nation for people to voice their opinions in relation to the functioning of their society and current affairs. For example, the media and public regularly satirise and criticise the views of politicians: and rightly so. The rights of human beings and students are protected under law. The fallible nature of ideas, views and beliefs are not and are therefore open to be challenged, questioned and criticised. Further, the right to free speech entitles individuals to question the stagnant views of religious beliefs. Continue Reading →