Eleanor Harding, Daily Mail, March 16, 2018
A lecturer has been prevented from giving a talk about free speech at his own university after he was criticised by hard-Left activists.
Dr Adam Perkins, who teaches psychology at King’s College London, was told his event was being postponed because it had been assessed as ‘high risk’.
The talk, which was scheduled to take place on campus yesterday, was called The Scientific Importance of Free Speech.
But officials became worried it could be gatecrashed by demonstrators who are opposed to Dr Perkins’s research.
The academic, who has worked at King’s for eight years specialising in the neurobiology of personality, has been targeted online by hard-Left activists in recent years.
They branded him ‘racist’ because of research he did about US president Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on people from some Muslim-majority countries, and also claimed a book he wrote about the welfare state is offensive to the poor.
His planned talk at the Libertarian Society, a student organisation, was postponed by the university authorities, who said they could not ‘manage the event safely’.
It comes almost two weeks after masked protesters punched a security guard to gain access to another Libertarian Society event featuring a Right-wing academic and a blogger accused of being anti-feminist.
The thugs, who claimed to be ‘anti-fascist’, then rampaged around the lecture hall at King’s and shut down the event. Yesterday Dr Perkins said: ‘I am disappointed that my lecture on the scientific importance of free speech has been postponed.
‘Free speech in science is crucial because it means different opinions can be debated.
‘If we allow one side of the debate to be silenced because it is deemed “wrong-think”, we will remove its balancing effect and thus impede the development of scientific understanding.’
Dr Perkins added that the student society is looking into rescheduling the event and employing security guards to oversee it. A spokesman for the Libertarian Society said: ‘The premise that a lecturer on the payroll of King’s College London itself is being “risk assessed” is astonishing.
The academic, who has worked at King’s for eight years specialising in the neurobiology of personality, has been targeted online by hard-Left activists in recent years
‘Dr Perkins has been a lecturer at King’s for several years now, and is an expert in his field.
‘By no means was this a controversial event, as the value of free speech to scientific discovery cannot be questioned.’
The spokesman said the university authorities had effectively ‘no-platformed’ the speaker until his talk could be re-scheduled and accused them of succumbing to ‘radical elements’ in the student body.
A King’s College London spokesman said: ‘The society will be offered the opportunity to host it on another occasion, if they wish.
‘Due to the current external environment and the recent violent protest at King’s, this event was assessed as high risk and postponed.
‘The safety and security of staff, students, speakers and attendees is a priority.
‘We are absolutely committed to academic freedom and respect the right to peaceful protest where people have conflicting views.’