Stop universities ‘erasing’ Christian language by changing term names, say MPs
Universities which change the names of their terms “will cause an irreversible erasure of the Christian language” and are “shockingly neglectful of the common culture”, a group of 20 Tory MPs have warned.
The MPs, including former government ministers Sir John Hayes and David Jones, said that the changes were “chipping away at the fabric of our national heritage” and were “a manifestation of the culture of shame that bedevils much of the liberal establishment that runs too many of our once great institutions”.
The intervention came after the London School of Economics (LSE), one of the country’s most prestigious universities, dropped traditional terms and holiday names such as the Michaelmas term, the Christmas break, Lent term and Easter break to be more “international”.
In a letter to The Telegraph, 20 MPs and one peer, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, said that the LSE’s decision was the “latest example of a university determined to cleanse itself of any identifiably British heritage”.
They added: “The move is indicative of either ignorance as to why such language matters, or knowing dismissiveness of its significance. It may be tokenism or something more sinister; either way it damages the reputation of the LSE and all British higher education.”
The LSE said this week that the “new names use more accessible and widely-recognised terminology, and better reflect the international nature of our community and our broader global engagement”.
However, the MPs gave this reasoning short shrift: “If this justification is genuine, it is shockingly neglectful of the common culture that informs our communal sense of belonging.
“A more resentful anti-Christian explanation of such zealotry is surely at odds with the open-mindedness at the core of rigorous higher learning.”
Action against ‘wayward iconoclasm’
The letter was organised by the influential Common Sense Group of Conservative MPs which questioned Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and other senior Tories when they were standing to be party leader last summer.
Other signatories included Sir Desmond Swayne, Sir Edward Leigh, Bob Blackman, Jonathan Gullis, Craig MacKinlay, Henry Smith and Alexander Stafford.
They concluded: “We members of the Common Sense Group are concerned that, unheeded, this wayward iconoclasm will cause an irreversible erasure of the Christian language, and the heritage it embodies, which links our universities to the nation that bore them.”
The LSE declined to comment on the contents of the letter when approached by The Telegraph. Earlier this week, the university said that its school management committee had decided to change the term names from the 2023-24 academic year.