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Cambridge philosopher becomes first free speech tsar

Image: Jean-Luc Benazet

Arif Ahmed raises potential fines for universities and warns of “urgent threats” to academic freedom

The man picked by the government to ensure free speech in universities has promised to tackle “urgent threats” to academics’ ability to express their views and raised the prospect of fines, after his appointment this week.

University of Cambridge philosophy professor Arif Ahmed was announced as the first Office for Students’ free speech tsar on 1 June. Officially titled director of freedom of speech and academic freedom, he will be responsible for carrying out the regulator’s duties under the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act.

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