‘Awakened guards’ tell academics that research money could be withheld if they offend students
Academics warn they are facing “awakened guards” to get taxpayer money for research, as they are told money could be taken away if they offend someone.
Equality and Diversity Guidelines have been developed to cover nine major research organizations, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Medical Research Council and Research England.
Documents from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which oversees the most prestigious research councils and awarded £ 3.2 billion in funding last year, include “constant criticism” of someone or “insulting criticism” as potential reasons for blocking funds. .
The government-sponsored organization also warns against “intimidating, degrading or offending” study participants, lecturers and students.
The researchers denounced the “awakened barriers” placed on vital research applications amid growing concern over freedom of expression and thought that is quietly suppressed on campuses.
Grants could be suspended, terminated or suspended if “harm” is caused to someone involved, the research authority warns in its safeguard guidelines.
Serious abuse and exploitation
One type listed is “psychological damage”, which could include “humiliating and degrading treatment such as name calling, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shame”, as well as more serious abuse and exploitation.
Bullying and harassment should also be eliminated from research, which UKRI defines as “any unwanted behavior that makes a person feel intimidated, demeaned or offended”.
This “can include a continuum of repeated behaviors that convey hostility, force unwanted attention, objectification, exclusion or second-class status, and have negative effects on the targeted person,” the guide adds.
It applies to all UKRI-funded studies in Britain and abroad, and organizations must inform those responsible for any allegations of bad behavior so that “appropriate action” can be taken.
UKRI asks universities for evidence of how they applied disciplinary action when responding to ‘harm’ claims, but says it ‘reserves the right to take action’ to withdraw public funding investigation if the violation is considered serious.
Professor Dennis Hayes, director of the Academics for Academic Freedom group, said: “Academics have had to be completely compliant and nod to this as it is getting harder and harder to get money to study anything that calls for it. question the ideological consensus.
“Most of the time, it is done quietly – you apply and it gets rejected. It is because of the therapeutic culture that has taken root in universities. It has become very difficult to say “I have the right to offend”, so there seems to be a barrier to looking awake. “
Desire for diversity
Professor Doug Stokes, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter, said: “This is done in the name of ‘social justice’, but poses a threat to evidence-based research.
“Besides the fact that the peer review is completely anonymous anyway, the progress of mankind depends on the best published ideas, regardless of the racial or gender identity of the author. It is a very disturbing trend and a complete reversal of academic values.
It comes in the midst of a quango diversity campaign, including advice on how to bring ‘under-represented’ groups such as ethnic minorities and non-binary genders to light in research.
UKRI worked with university charity AdvanceHE, which had previously been berated by lawmakers and the Students Bureau, the regulator, for posing a threat to free speech.
A UKRI spokesperson said: “To support excellence in research and innovation, UKRI is committed to creating a dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and innovation system that empowers everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit from it.
“This ambition shapes the development of our policies and directions, which are designed to maximize the impact of our research and innovation and benefit all parts of society. “