The University of York is investigating after a student claimed a lecturer called health secretary Jeremy Hunt a ‘fucking twat’ during a tutorial.

Final year politics, philosophy and economics student Arthur Reynolds also claimed in a Tweet that his seminar tutor said ‘Tories, fuck them’.

The Tweet that led to the investigation

The undergraduate has made an official complaint. His actions have split opinion with some applauding him and others defending the right of academics to hold robust opinions and adopt positions which challenge students.

The controversy feeds into the debate now raging about freedom of speech at Britain’s universities, after several contentious speakers have been banned from speaking on campuses.

Edwina’s on board

University of York Central Hall. Photograph © Johnteslade on Wikipedia

Arthur Reynolds, a former chairman of the York Tories society at the university, has won some high profile backers.

Both Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy and Britain’s frist UKIP MP Douglas Carswell retweeted him.

And Conservative health minister in the 1980s Edwina Currie entered the fray:

Here are a selection of the comments on Twitter in response to Arthur’s original post – since retweetd more than 600 times:

I sincerely hope he will be disciplined at the very least. Those who educate our young people need to be impartial & decent.

– Denis Fuller

We don’t have to be impartial. We have to give students all the information, but we are allowed our opinions too. Personal, I love when students challenge mine.

– Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill

Fine to hold those views in private, not fine to impose those views on those they teach. Even worse to penalise those who might not hold those views

– Flap Zappa

They are encouraging debate. Arthur is a nanny state snowflake who is running away from the argument.

– Giovanni Torre

‘Looking into the matter’

A University of York spokesperson confirmed that an investigation is underway.

They said: “A complaint has been received from a student alleging inappropriate use of language and expression of political bias by an academic tutor during a seminar.

“We are looking into the matter and speaking to the parties involved.

“We believe universities should provide a platform where a variety of views can be debated and challenged. We remain committed to creating a positive environment which is fair, welcoming and inclusive.”