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Free speech in universities

Responding to the Joint Committee on Human Rights report from its inquiry into freedom of speech at universities, Chris Hale, Director of Policy at Universities UK, said:

"Universities are absolutely committed to promoting and securing free speech and will not allow legitimate speech to be stifled. There is already a legal duty on the higher education sector to secure free speech within the law and universities have developed policies in this area.

"As the report states, there is little hard evidence of a systematic problem of free speech in universities. But, despite the thousands of events that go ahead across the sector without incident, a small number of flash-points and challenges do arise from time to time. It is important that universities are well equipped to secure free speech within the law, while balancing this with other responsibilities such as the safety of students and staff. We will look at the advice of the committee in this area and how it can complement the already extensive experience of managing such events and policies universities have in place.​

"Universities must continue to be places where difficult topics are discussed and where people, however controversial their views, should be allowed to speak within the law, and their views challenged openly."​

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

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