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UKRI investigation shows Secretary of State launched "outrageous attack on academic freedom"

5 March 2024

UCU has slammed the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan for her "outrageous attack on academic freedom".

The union was responding to the outcome of an independent investigation launched by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) after Donelan attacked members of the Research England Expert Advisory Group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.  

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This investigation completely exonerates our members and confirms Michelle Donelan's unprecedented, politicised intervention was an outrageous attack on academic freedom. This whole affair has had a chilling effect on university campuses and exposes the lie that hard right Tory ministers are the supposed guardians of free speech. 

'Donelan must now apologise for throwing the careers of highly respected academics into turmoil for the sake of another Tory anti-woke headline. There are also serious questions for the government to answer over why it compiled a disturbing and heavily detailed dossier to target those whose views do not align with its right-wing agenda. The public deserves to know why time and public money has been spent investigating people for wholly legal and protected speech.' 

Last updated: 5 March 2024