Mr Phillips, who is the former chair of the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the erosion of free speech on campus must not be solely blamed on students.“It is weakness of faculties and university authorities who in many cases just cannot seem to bring themselves to stand up for higher education values,” he said.“Vice-Chancellors must stand up for their basic charters. At the moment university [leaders] pretty much uniformly across the UK are behaving like frightened children who are not standing up for their own vales.”Mr Phillips, who is the chair of Index on Censorship, an pro-free speech organisation, said that university culture is worse than thought police and is more like the Stasi, where “the expression of a non-sanctioned opinion becomes a crime – and that’s where we have got to on some campuses”.He said: “The debate becomes not the most persuasive argument but who can gather the loudest shouting voices. What you are really talking about is the rule of the mob – that has come to campuses. I find all of those things incredibly threatening.”Last year Bristol University’s students’ union backed proposals to ban any “terf” speakers who question the transgender status of women. Terf, which stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, is generally used as a derogatory term to describe those who believe that “identifying” as a woman is not the same as being born a woman. It can also refer to people who are deemed to hold “transphobic” views.Sussex University’s free speech society was told by the students’ union that its inaugural guest must submit his speech in advance for vetting, in case it violates their safe space policy.It also emerged that King’s College London hired “safe space marshals” to police controversial speaker events on campus and take “immediate action” if anyone expresses opinions that breach the safe space policy.Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Universities are absolutely committed to promoting and protecting free speech”.Trevor Phillips will be in discussion with Professor Shohini Chaudhuri on March 8, 2019 as part of the Essex Book Festival Unspeakable series of events Universities are allowing free speech to be curtailed on campuses in favour of “rule of the mob”, the former equalities chief has warned, as he says vice-Chancellors must stop behaving like “frightened children” and take a stand.Trevor Phillips, who wrote the National Union of Students’ (NUS) original “no platforming” policy in the 1970s, said that it is now being used in an “ugly” and “authoritarian” way.He said that the policy was designed to counter the rise of the far-Right on campuses and ensure that National Front speakers were barred from addressing students.“At that time the National Front was making inroads on campuses,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “The point was very simple: to prevent people who belonged to violent, racist groups from organising on campus in the same way as other societies.“But people have taken that and stretched it beyond all recognition into something ugly and authoritarian. People use what was originally a protective proposition to damn others with whom they disagree.”This week the Government published guidance for universities on free speech, which said that speakers should not be banned from campus just because they “offend, shock or disturb” students.It is the first time in 30 years that ministers have intervened to protect free speech at universities, and follows widespread concern about censorship of unfashionable views.It says that universities have a legal duty to uphold free speech, and that the starting point should be that any event can go ahead, so long as it is within the law. In recent years, students have tried to “no platform” prominent lesbian and gay rights activists including Germaine Greer and Linda Bellos on the basis they hold allegedly “transphobic” views. Christian groups have been barred for fear their presence alienates those of other faiths. Linda Bellos at the Labour Party Conference 1987Credit:Simon Grosset Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.