University reconsidering decision to cancel Charlie Hebdo conference

Apr 25, 2015 by


Queen’s University Belfast issues statement suggesting possibility of conference going ahead, after accusations of curbing academic freedom

Queen’s University Belfast is to reconsider its decision to cancel a conference on the Charlie Hebdo massacre after writers and intellectuals accused the college of curbing academic freedom.

The conference on the implications of the attack on the French satirical magazine had been scheduled to take place in June. It was cancelled earlier this month.
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But in a statement issued late on Thursday Queen’s appeared to hold out the possibility that that decision might be reversed.

Pro Patrick Johnston, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “Queen’s is, and will remain, a place where difficult issues can be discussed.

“In line with due process, the university has commissioned a full risk-assessment. The report of this assessment is expected to be completed by Friday 1 May 2015. The report will then inform the university’s decision.”

The conference was organised by the university’s institute for collaborative research in the humanities and was to feature academics, novelists, journalists and commentators.

The institute claimed that Johnston had cancelled the event because of the security risk and concerns for the reputation of Queen’s.

An email circulated by the institute this week said: “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 university earlier denied the cancellation had anything to do with academic freedom, saying the event was cancelled because the organisers had failed to complete a full risk-assessment.

Source: University reconsidering decision to cancel Charlie Hebdo conference | Education | The Guardian

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