Monday, May 07, 2018

No enthusiasm for university free speech code in Britain

The UK’s complex tangle of regulations governing free speech on university campuses should be replaced by one clear set of guidelines for both students and institutions, according to the universities minister.

In a speech at a closed-door seminar on free speech on campus, the minister, Sam Gyimah, will suggest the Department for Education oversees the creation of the first new set of guidelines – since the free speech duty was first introduced in 1986 – to “provide clarity”.

Gyimah’s idea would bind both students and universities to a common code of practice on free speech, although there appears to be little enthusiasm for this among either university or student leaders.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, will also attend the seminar. He said a recent parliamentary inquiry had found no systemic problems with free speech at British universities.

He said: “Universities are committed to promoting and protecting free speech within the law. Tens of thousands of speaking events are put on every year across the country, the majority pass without incident. [Only the non-conservative ones]


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