Monday, October 10, 2005

Glasgow University fails test

Glasgow University faced a test of its resolve recently. And failed. Miserably. The story is told as the lead item ('Censored') in the latest edition of the Ansible newsletter.

Well, some British universities can still, just about, claim to be among the world leaders in various disciplines; and in this instance Glasgow seem to be leading the world in terms of the width of their yellow streak.

Caution is one thing, cowardice quite another. In respect of the Ansible archives, Glasgow have failed to display any degree of common sense, and, more important, have ignored any consideration of the principle of freedom of speech -- a matter in which universities have traditionally taken an interest.

Grow up, Glasgow. Please.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The behaviour of Glasgow University here has been not only craven, but astonishingly stupid. The case turns on a couple of unfavourable mentions in the Ansible newsletter (hosted by the University) of a fantasy writer by the name of Robert Stanek.

A single very suspicious-looking email, threatening (though only by implication) legal action, persuaded the university to suspend the newsletter.

Now I am well aware that I am doing little more than stating the obvious here, but when someone threatens to sue you, your first response should be to check if they could possibly have a case. (And your second response, regardless, should be to check how deep their pockets might be.)

In the Ansible/Stanek affair, a few minutes on Google should have told the University that they had nothing to worry about. But the UK, where, most unusually, the burden of proof in a libel case rests with the defendant, is the libel capital of the world, and some organisations can be very easily intimidated.

Anyway, having expressed my disgust with Glasgow’s cowardice, I will conclude by saying that hours of innocent fun may be had pursuing the protean Mr Stanek around the Web. Here, to get you started, are a few links to go with the one you already have from the GOB.

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

Mr Stanek, as you can see, is an extraordinarily energetic self-promoter. Is it too much to hope that, in one of his many guises, he might turn up here to threaten the GOB? He would find His Grumpiness a good deal less accommodating than the “University” of Glasgow.