Question about safe spaces, freedom of speech, and use of language

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Alex J Lennon

Sep 13, 2023, 9:18:09 AMSep 13

This is slightly strange request and I emphasise is completely unrelated
to any activities at DoES Liverpool.

I am posting here only because I know people in our community have
considered these issues and are undoubtedly more informed than I about
processes and so forth.

It's relating to an external issue I have been asked to consider and I
am not sure what the professional approach is to take.

I know a lot of thought has gone into creating a safe, inclusive space
at DoES so that everybody feels comfortable and welcome, which is one of
the wonderful things about the space, so I would like to ask for some
generic advice from those who have undoubtedly considered these issues.
I am aware of the Safe Space Policy which has in fact lead to this email.

Hypothetically speaking, if a person was accused of racist and offensive
speech in a workplace or club (and I emphasise this is not me) how
should that be dealt with?

I'm currently thinking along these lines:

- I am a strong advocate of free speech and people should be able to
speak their minds in a healthy society

- People should have a right to feel safe and comfortable in a club or
workplace and not have to put up with offensive speech, or feel
minimised or bullied or turned away

- Racist speech in particular can be construed as hate speech which I
understand is illegal

I am unclear on,

- At what level particular kinds of speech become an issue for censure

- How those tasked with determining what speech has occurred should
evaluate evidence of such speech

- What appropriate moves to censure and/or sanction individuals should
be taken

I recognise this is slightly odd, and emphasise again I'm just asking
for considered advice from people who may have been involved in these
kinds of difficult situations.

Perhaps better not to respond on the list? If you have thoughts and/or
advice please feel free to contact me privately.



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