Interview 86: Tom Slater

slaterTom Slater of Spiked UK joins James to discuss the war against free expression being waged on college campuses across the West by today’s self-appointed emissaries of political correctness. In stark contrast from the 1960s, when college students at UC Berkeley and elsewhere forged paths toward intellectual and personal autonomy while vigorously defending all forms of speech, many faculty and students today seek to be shielded from virtually anything they deem threatening or hurtful.

Stemming from the backdrop of now common anti-Enlightenment precepts that characterize much of the humanities, the crusade for political correctness reaches from scholarly publications and the seminar room to government-mandated efforts policing behavior and intimate relations. For example, in what Tom refers to as “mood-breaking” legislation, recently-passed laws in New York and California require college students to obtain the “affirmative consent” of their partner before partaking in any sexual act.


Tom is deputy editor at Spiked UK and heads up the organization’s free-speech campaigns Down with Campus Censorship! and the Free Speech University Rankings, the UK’s first university-based platform advocating free speech. He has written on politics, popular culture and free speech for the Spectator, the Telegraph, Times Higher Education, The Times and Independent.

Tom’s new book is titled, Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus (Palgrave MacMillan 2016), and features contributions from eight journalists, academics and attorneys.