The short version: universities minister Sam Gyimah has once again made a factual claim about absurdities in the university sector. Once again the evidence doesn’t stack up. Once again the best explanation offered on his behalf is a version of ‘it’s an anecdote a student told him’.
The longer version, as Research Research reports:
In an interview with The Times on 25 June, Gyimah said: “There’s a culture of censorship in some of our universities. At one institution when I turned up to speak to students they read the safe-space policy and it took 20 minutes.”…
Each of the universities [he visited, however] confirmed that the description did not refer to the minister’s visit to their campus…
Department for Education [was asked] to help identify the incident referred to in Gyimah’s interview with the Times. A spokeswoman said that it would not be possible to obtain a quote from the minister on the matter.
Rather, she said: “I don’t believe he means that someone actually read the policy out at one of the meetings with students, he means a student said it to him anecdotally.”
This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened with Sam Gyimah:
When speaking at the University of Buckingham, Gyimah referred to a professor at King’s College London who had been reported for hate speech after teaching students a history class on the Cold War…
A university spokeswoman said: “We have looked into this matter and have found absolutely no evidence of any complaint or allegation of hate speech made against any of our lecturers by students or anyone else in relation to this topic.”
On 15 June, a spokeswoman from the Department for Education said that the minister was referring to something that a student had told him during his campus tour.
Perish the thought any student takes this as a challenge to see what the most absurd story is they can tell the minister and have him retell it.