SIR – Why do we need what is being taught about any subject to be open to public scrutiny?

Because that is what universities should be all about, providing open, comprehensive and balanced scholarship, not creating an orthodoxy inaccessible to critique.

If you are on a course of ‘Gender Studies’ it is highly unlikely that you will be welcome if you say that we are a binary reproducing species, that genes do not lie and that transgender is a dubious concept.

You are most likely to be accused of hate speech.

Anyone on a ‘Peace Studies’ course who takes the side of Israel will probably receive the same treatment.

Studying migration, you are not going to encounter arguments against mass migration or pointing out that many unaccompanied child migrants are actually adults masquerading as younger in order to beat the immigration system.

If you dare to object to terms such as ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Far Right Populism’ as basically insult words for anyone who takes a different view, then you are battling against the tide.

Universities do not only teach, hopefully broadening rather than narrowing (mainly) young minds. They are research centres.

A university department which sets up a project about the experience of migrants after the referendum and labels it ‘The Tragedy of Brexit’, before any research has even done, has clearly made up its mind what the conclusions will be in advance.

I am sure that university vice-chancellors see themselves as valiant, free-thinking crusading for truth. But actually they are blind to the danger of becoming a defensive, inward-looking establishment.

Francis Lankester