Ihe word of the government does not commit it in any way. It will have taken two years after the announcement, in February 2021, of the launch of” investigation “ on “Islamo-leftism” at the university by the former minister of higher education and research, Frédérique Vidal, so that the ministry responds, on March 17, 2023, to the appeal lodged by six teacher-researchers on April 13, 2021 before the Council of State. The Ministry assured the Paris Administrative Court that this announcement constituted “a mere statement of intent”, “without direct legal effect”. The Minister’s remarks therefore do not engage her responsibility.
Let’s remember. On February 14, 2021, Frédérique Vidal declares that “Islamo-leftism is corrupting society”but also “university”and that she decided to “ask the (National Center for Scientific Research) to make an investigation (…) to distinguish what comes from academic research from what comes from activism and opinion”. She repeated it the following days in other media and confirmed it to the National Assembly in response to a question from a deputy.
In protest against this ” witch hunt “a forum of six hundred academics (with soon 23,000 signatories) demanded his resignation, accusing him “to defame a profession and, beyond that, an entire community (…) which it is up to him, as Minister, to protect”. In solidarity, two hundred English-speaking academics publish a column denouncing the “threat of censorship” which falls on their colleagues in France.
A lot of noise for nothing
The Minister echoes the words of Emmanuel Macron who, in June 2020, accused academics of “break the Republic in two”amplified by his Minister of National Education: the day after the death of Samuel Paty, Jean-Michel Blanquer denounced “intellectual complicity with terrorism” to take on the “intellectual perpetrators of this assassination”. The accusations of Frédérique Vidal on a “Islamo-leftism” imaginary university also resonate with the presidential argument for the law against “separatism”adopted a few months later.
Believing that this investigation constituted a characterized abuse, seriously infringing on academic freedom, academics then appealed for abuse of power. Since then, their lawyers, William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth, have continued to request communication of the acts constituting this investigation: silence from the minister and the ministry.
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