A THIRD of “right- leaning” academics and four in ten Brexit-backing lecturers feel silenced at their universities.
That is double the proportion of those on the centre and left of politics.
Some 32 per cent of academics who described themselves as “fairly right” of “right-leaning” said they had refrained from openly airing their views in teaching and research – over double the proportion on the centre and left.
And 40 per cent of Leave-supporting academics said they had refrained from publishing or airing views in research and teaching for “fear of consequences to your career”.
A study by think-tank Policy Exchange warned of a “structural discriminatory effect” in education establishments.
It said: “Hostile or just uncomfortable attitudes signal to those subject to such discrimination that they should conceal their views and narrow their research questions to conform to prevailing norms, if they wish to progress and enjoy a positive workplace experience.”.
A YouGov poll, of 820 both current and former academics, found more than one in seven said there was a hostile climate towards people with their political beliefs in their department – but the figure is higher among those who identify as being right-leaning, or among those who voted to leave the EU.
Just over half of respondents said they would feel comfortable sitting with a colleague who is a Leave supporter at lunch, in a meeting or in the staff room.
Universities minister Michelle Donelan said they “must do much more”.
She added: “This Government is committed to bringing forward measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom, potentially including legislation.”
Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “University leaders must do much more to champion freedom of speech, and this Government is committed to bringing forward measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom, potentially including legislation.”
She added: “It is deeply concerning the extent to which students and academics with mainstream views are being silenced and discriminated against in our universities.”