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Academics ‘have a duty’ to combat alternative facts

Those who spread alternative facts are “having a field day” because universities are not responding strongly enough to the problem, a South African former vice-chancellor has said.

Speaking about decolonising knowledge at the Higher Education Policy Institute annual lecture on 27 November, Ihron Rensburg—vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg from 2006 to 2017—said universities around the world have a duty to the public to distinguish fact from fiction.

“This is the time for academics to make self-evident the virtues of universities,” he said. “The alternative facts movement are having a field day because we are not in the game, and I strongly believe that we should be in that game.”

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