Universities UK have released a new document called "Freedom of speech on campus: Rights and Responsibilities in UK Universities". It will be distributed to Vice Chancellors and may well be discussed with you.
It forms the final report from a group formed by Universities UK to examine the issues of freedom of speech and violent extremism on campus in the wake of Christmas Day 2009 when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab- a former UCL student and ISOC President- was apprehended in attempting to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
NUS was a member of the working group and fed in perspectives from students and students' unions.
Whilst the report offers a useful and credible analysis of the broader issues surrounding freedom of speech and extremism, building an environment where the rights of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom from harm’ can coexist often requires more practical support. In our view the report lacks this, and despite our feedback in particular the report's three case studies are unhelpful and unrealistic.
NUS takes the issues in the report very seriously, and as part of our student interfaith project we are working with partners to develop detailed separate guidance for students' unions and student societies particularly on the issues of speakers on campus. In addition we remain of the view- backed up by strong legal opinion from Liberty- that adopting a policy of "No Platform" for racists and fascists is both morally desirable and legally possible where a students' union chooses to do so.
Download the report
If you have any questions please let us know at NUS via email@example.com