Today there are also hate speech, threats and harassment from the outside that are sometimes directed at our departments but are fundamentally about something else – like scientific problems or the choice of research questions. On this point universities need to be clear. We should never accept blackmailing by political extremists who do not want to accept scientific results. Neither should we accept scientifically-based differences of opinions – which can of course happen – to become the grounds for hasty conclusions and political pressure or extortion. Research-based results that differ from each other should first be discussed internally within the scientific community.

Sometimes the external threats are directed not only at researchers but their families as well. This, of course, is completely unacceptable in a democratic society. Ultimately, it is also a threat against academic freedom, the cornerstone of the academic system emphasized by Stockholm University’s strategy. We can’t ever accept the curtailing of freedom of expression, and for the future we must stand up with force to defend academic freedom!