Freedom of speech is the right to express views and ideas freely, without fear of interference or persecution: it is an essential part of democracy. Respectful debate and conversation help to challenge discrimination, intolerant and harmful attitudes, and build strong communities. The University has a duty to take steps to secure freedom of speech under the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023.

Freedom of speech covers anything within the law: it can be spoken word, written material or in other forms of expression. This includes lawful speech that may be offensive, shocking, or hurtful for some. Speech that amounts to unlawful harassment or unlawful discrimination does not constitute free speech within the law and is not protected. 

“The core mission of universities and colleges is the pursuit of knowledge, and the principles of free speech and academic freedom are fundamental to this purpose. Students will not have high quality education if that education is not grounded in freedom of speech. This includes freedom of speech for themselves, fellow students, for those who teach or supervise and for visiting speakers.” 


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