The Minister of Higher Education Frédérique Vidal said on February 21 in an interview with Sunday newspaper wish “That we raise the debate”. “We need an inventory of what is being done in research in France on these subjects”, said the minister, assuring want an investigation “In the sociological sense of the term”.
The minister found herself caught up in a controversy after denouncing on February 14 “Islamo-leftism” who, according to her, “Gangrene on society as a whole and the university is not impermeable”, before asking the CNRS on Tuesday “A review of all the research” which take place in France, in order to distinguish between what is academic research and what is activism.
→ ANALYSIS. The government wants a CNRS audit on “Islamo-leftism” at the university
These declarations aroused strong reactions in the academic world, to the point that 600 academics (teachers, researchers …) demanded on Saturday February 20, in a column published by the newspaper The world, his resignation accusing him of “Raise the threat of intellectual repression”.
“It is also in the disagreement that we advance”
Rejecting wanting to set up a “Thought police”, Frédérique Vidal sees a ” trial of intent “, assuring on the contrary to want “Deconstruct the idea that there is a single thought on certain subjects and (…) protect the pluralism of ideas at the university”. “I am an academic. I have always defended academic freedom and researchers ”, she assures.
“If academics who don’t know me may have felt offended, that wasn’t my intention. Everyone must be able to express themselves, it is also in the disagreement that we advance “, underlined the minister.
The CNRS had agreed on Tuesday to participate in the study requested by the minister on “Islamo-leftism”, regretting however “An emblematic controversy of an instrumentalisation of science” and a “political slogan [qui] did not correspond to any scientific reality “.
“The priority is the situation of students and the pandemic”
“I want a rational and scientific approach to the subject. We have to quantify things, get out of feeling and presupposition ”, advances Frédérique Vidal. “Academic freedoms and the freedom of research must be defended at all costs. What I want is to know if these freedoms are not hindered in the work of researchers and teacher-researchers ”, indicates the minister.
→ ANALYSIS. “Islamo-leftism”, an ambiguous notion brandished everywhere after the Conflans attack
Frédérique Vidal notes that “This subject arouses a lot of reactions, but it is not our priority today, the priority is the situation of the students and the pandemic”.