LONDON - The principle of robust and open debate does not seem to apply when it comes to demonstrations about Gaza, writes Alan Rusbridger in the Independent.

University chiefs are terrified – but they must support the right to offend.

Before writing about campus protests over Gaza, I thought it would be good to speak to some actual protesters. So I popped round to University College London (UCL), where there is a modest encampment. It was a sunny evening, and the sit-in looked peaceful enough. 

But more I cannot say, as I was politely ejected from the university grounds.

The “Campus Experience Team” – which is what Russell Group universities call what are, in effect, bouncers – were polite but firm. The protesters were but a few yards away, but the bouncers’ orders were to send any journalists packing.  

I googled the current £375k-a-year provost, Dr Michael Spence, and found that his PR flaks had tweeted something he’d said only last August about “the need to disagree well and to approach any discussions with openness and a willingness to listen carefully”.

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