Following the launch of the NUS Helpline to support students affected by Prevent implementation in colleges and universities, we are now launching a piece of research to explore civil liberties and freedoms on campus.
Since Prevent became a mandatory duty in 2015, requiring institutions to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism", there has been a fundamental shift in the student-institutional relationship. We want to explore the nature of that change, and whether this has led to any change in campus freedoms.
The range of activities carried out on campus by students, societies, sports clubs, activists, sabbatical officers and volunteers in our students' unions and Associations is hugely diverse. From event organisation and management to campaigns, extra curricular activity is the lifeblood of the student movement. Where there have been reports that the Prevent duty is infringing upon the rights of students, they must be seriously investigated.
Whilst freedom of speech is hotly debated in newspaper headlines and columns, little has been reported about the real implications of the Prevent duty. Whether this is in relation to the ‘particular regard’ universities must give to academic freedom, or the equalities legislation that all education institutions must abide by, this piece of research will allow NUS to thoroughly consider what is happening across UK campuses in response to the duty.
All contributions are welcomed. The insight from this research will inform how the national response to the Prevent Duty upon education institutions will continue into the next stages.
A guidance document is also available here, should you require any assistance throughout the survey. For any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.