PARIS — France’s Minister for Higher Education, Frederique Vidal, has sparked a nationwide controversy with her announcement that the government is attempting to stop the spread of what she called “Islamo-leftism” in universities. Part of the process, she said, would be for the state to decide “what is academic research and what is activism and opinion,” implying that academics would need government permission to research and write on topics deemed too politically sensitive.
Vidal singled out post-colonial studies as a particularly problematic area. “I think that Islamo-leftism is eating away at our society as a whole, and universities are not immune and are part of our society,” she said, warning that France was importing American “woke culture.”
Her comments provoked serious pushback from academics labeling the government’s move a massive blow against freedom of speech, with the subject trending on French Twitter