My name is Noah Carl, and I’m a young academic from the UK. In the summer of 2018, I was given a job at St Edmund’s College in the University of Cambridge, following a rigorous application process involving over 900 applicants. However, just two months into my three-year fellowship, a group of student and academic activists complained to the college about my appointment. Their complaints were malicious, and were clearly motivated by ideological opposition to some of my work. The activists made sweeping, unsubstantiated claims, and they never tried to hear my side of the story .
At this point, you might have expected St Edmund’s College to come out in defence of my academic freedom. After all, the whole point of university is to explore controversial topics, and debate controversial ideas. Instead, they launched two "investigations": one into me personally, and one into their own appointment process. These investigations lasted for five whole months. During this time, I was told not to talk to the media, and not to enter the college without prior notice.
As a result, the activists were able to wage a campaign of harassment against me totally unchecked. They misrepresented my views and my research, held public protests against me, and teamed up with journalists from the Cambridge student newspaper. Unfortunately, this all proved too much for St Edmund’s College, and on 30 April 2019, they terminated my fellowship. In a public statement, the Master failed to provide a clear explanation for the decision, and even apologised for the "hurt" caused by my appointment.
Since I was fired, over 600 academics have signed a petition supporting me , and several leading newspapers have published articles criticising the college’s decision. The support I’ve received so far has been incredible! But petitions and newspaper articles aren’t enough. If we want to safeguard academic freedom, and freedom of speech more generally, we need to start imposing real, material costs on the institutions that buckle under activists’ pressure.
This isn't about whether you agree with my research or my political views. This is about protecting freedom of speech.
So I am taking legal action against the college, and I need your help. This isn’t about whether you agree with my research or my political views (I’m a conservative). This is about protecting freedom of speech, and standing up to the activists who are trying to control our universities. Hardly a week goes by without another case of someone being fired, or disinvited, or deplatformed, just for holding a certain viewpoint. It needs to stop. Let’s show St Edmund’s College that they can’t get away with this.
Any money left over in my crowd-fund will be donated to another free-speech campaign. Many thanks for reading, and I really appreciate your support!