Security fears are one thing, and too often they have the effect of chilling free speech. But what’s equally worrying about the QUB statement on its decision to cancel a conference on Charlie Hebdo is its reference to the University’s reputation:
The email informed speakers: “The Vice Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast has made the decision just this morning that he does not wish our symposium to go ahead. He is concerned about the security risk for delegates and about the reputation of the university.”
The cancelled conference framed its topic in pretty neutral terms (the call for papers no longer seems to be available on the QUB website but a screenshot is included in this Little Atoms post) and it’s astonishing that ‘reputation’ should be cited as a reason for cancellation. Nick Cohen has written about the cancellation here, and here’s a link to a post by Jason Walsh, one of the speakers.
Hat Tip: Fasdunkle