Universities UK responded today to a statement from the Prime Minister on tackling extremism in universities and colleges.
The comments were made as updated Prevent duty guidance come into force at all UK higher and further education institutions by 21 September 2015.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Universities have an important role to play in preventing violent extremism and promoting free speech. Universities have strong partnerships with the police and security services and have engaged with the Government’s Prevent strategy for a number of years. This new duty is a continuation of that work.”
“Universities must continue to be places where controversial subjects can be discussed openly, and flawed or dangerous ideas challenged. All universities have protocols and procedures [many based or guided by Universities UK guidance] that have to be satisfied before external speakers are given the green light to speak at a campus event.
“In relation to how people may become radicalised, it is important to remember that universities are only one part of young students’ lives and they have many other influences away from campuses such as the web, social media and membership of non-university groups. A joined-up approach to tackling violent extremism is needed, across the whole of society.”
For more information on the Prime Minister's statement, please see the government media release: PM's Extremism Taskforce: tackling extremism in universities and colleges top of the agenda
Universities UK circulated to all universities in Nov 2013 updated guidance to provide practical assistance to universities in managing External speakers on campus.