This should be a pretty major story.
Not these days though.
The University of Cambridge is reportedly asking staff to flag books deemed as “problematic”, in a move described as “sinister”.
The library, with over 10 million books, is asking lecturers to blacklist books that might be “offensive/harmful” so librarians can compile a list.
A note sent to colleges by the University Library sets out plans to forge guidance on how to deal with potentially problematic books.
“We would like to hear from colleagues across Cambridge about any books you have had flagged to you as problematic (for any reason, not just in connection with decolonisation issues), so that we can compile a list of examples on the Cambridge Librarians intranet and think the problem through in more detail on the basis of that list,” a message seen by the Sunday Telegraph said.
The note also encouraged those who have similar measures in place in their individual college libraries to send over any details to a “decolonisation” email address.
Pembroke College told staff in an email last week: “The University Library is currently compiling examples of offensive/harmful books and has asked me to circulate [this].
“The intention is to put together some guidance for supporting librarians obliged to work with such materials, as well as working to better support readers.”
One of the flagged books is understood to be written by an ethnic minority author.
However, the Library refused to reveal which books when asked by the Telegraph.
They’re so harmful you can’t even name them!
The move has triggered a wave of backlash as some worry it sets a dangerous precedent and discourages free debate.
Some academics have slammed the decision for being a wider part of a “sinister” decolonising drive.
Dr James Orr, a lecturer in divinity at Cambridge, said that “research libraries should not be joining the culture wars”.
“Creating an index of books that are problematic for one side of an issue – one about which both academics and the public profoundly disagree – would be a sinister development. It would undermine the University Library’s justified reputation as one of the finest institutions of its kind in the world,” he continued.
Yeah, the whole thing is that academia is supposed to allow all information and free and open debate.
And it was the last place where this was happening. It was happening there 10-15 years ago, without really anyone questioning it.
But, you know.
It’s all women and black people now.
And black women.
British universities are just 5-10 years away from this