Students Try To Oust MigrationWatch Don

Students try to oust MigrationWatch don

By Graeme Paton, Education Correspondent
March 3, 2007
Last Updated: 2:03am GMT 03/03/2007
The Telegraph

Academics last night condemned as a witch-hunt a student campaign to oust an Oxford don because of his links to an immigration watchdog.

Student members of a refugee support group launched a petition demanding that Prof David Coleman be sacked for stirring up hostility towards immigrants.

The professor of demography helped found MigrationWatch in 2001 to monitor the effects of overcrowding and integration caused by refugees and asylum seekers.

Yesterday it emerged that Oxford Student Action for Refugees had urged Dr John Hood, the Oxford vice-chancellor, to “consider the suitability of Coleman's continued tenure as a professor of the university”.

This provoked a row over academic freedom and free speech. Last year, Dr Frank Ellis, a Leeds University academic was removed from his post after claiming that whites were the superior race.

Prof Coleman told a student newspaper: “It is a shameful attempt of the most intolerant and totalitarian kind to suppress the freedom of analysis and informed comment that it is the function of universities to cherish.

“I am ashamed that Oxford students should behave this way. It is the signatories who will bring the university into disrepute and it they who should reconsider their membership of this university.”

Prof Coleman helped establish MigrationWatch as an independent think-tank promoting “open and frank debate” about how to manage growing immigrant numbers.

But his views are controversial. Teresa Hayter, a writer and anti-racism campaigner, recently pulled out of an event after learning Prof Coleman would appear alongside her.

She said yesterday: “I support the petition. I don't think he should be a professor at the university.”

Dennis Hayes, the president of the University and College Union, and founder of the campaign group Academics for Academic Freedom, said: “Students who once fought for challenging the state on things like war are now fighting against free speech.

“It comes to something when students would rather see an academic sacked than stand up and debate these issues with him.”

MigrationWatch says immigration has made a “valuable contribution” but “the numbers have become too great”.

An Oxford spokesman said: “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right respected by the university. Staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges.”


These tactics were used by the Nazis before Hitler came to power to get rid of academics they disliked. Lift high the flag, clear the streets for the red and green battalions.They have no place in a free society.
Posted by Frederick Jones on March 2, 2007 11:47 AM
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Migration Watch doesn't “promote open and frank debate”. It is basically anti-immigrant, which selectively uses statistics to promote racism.
Posted by kerry livermore on March 2, 2007 9:57 AM
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Do we now live a state with no free speech ? This is awful, the telegraph should organise a petition for him not to be sacked.
Posted by David on March 2, 2007 9:30 AM
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Just goes to show that the educated in our universities are still as stupid as ever.Reactionary, intolerant and immatue, but with big mouths operating independently of their under used brain.
Posted by Ian Cook on March 2, 2007 9:06 AM
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“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right respected by the university. Staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges.”

Good for Oxford.
Posted by Mathias on March 2, 2007 8:43 AM
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Leftists against the right of free speech?
This is perhaps the ultimate irony and shows how far society is in decline. Mouthy liberals abusing the platform of tolerance they have been given by the silent majority over the past 30 years and attempting to ruin the career of an academic just because they disagree with his views. No debate, no argument, no respecting of the fundamental right of a personal, private or professional opinion when it varies from their own. Disgusting, childish fools who should be dealt with, lest they truly become jackbooted absolutists, polar opposites of those they initally formed to reisist but now using the same methods.
Posted by Pete North on March 2, 2007 8:35 AM
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What a contrast. Migrationwatch uniquely provides a balanced, calm analysis of demographic tendencies and social consequences based upon facts. The likes of Teresa Hayter provide unsubstantiated rants. They avoid debate as their positions are baseless – unless I say so, so there is an argument. Consequently they descend into hysteria and abuse. Why are such people at any university, especially a temple of excellence like Oxford?
Posted by Mark Derek on March 2, 2007 6:42 AM
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My alma mater has always had the lunatic fringe and we can guess what political affiliations these people have. Persecution of academics is rarely because of their Marxist sympathies and is a clear attack on freedom to think, and to behave like a reasoned person in a university.

It is unfortunate that these recruits to the Thought Police can engage in such tactics. Time for the University to stand firm; if Dawkins can keep his job, no reason for Coleman to feel insecure in his
Posted by Oxoniensis on March 2, 2007 5:54 AM
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Please let us know how well the petitition is being supported.
It is breathtaking to watch from afar how political correctness gone mad has inverted Britain on itself, and now, at what should be the very bastion of free speech.
Posted by Alice on March 2, 2007 5:19 AM
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One assume that they would prefere to have those upholders of free speech, Castro, Chavez, Mugabe or any of the numerous dictators round the world. The chancellor should tell them in unequivocal terms that Freedom of Speech is the corner stone of our society and if they don't like it he will be only too please to except their resignation as students from the college. I am sure that there are hundreds of others who would be only too happy to take their places.
Posted by jeff cox on March 2, 2007 2:57 AM
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