NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED536167
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 67
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-8403-6251-0
Freedom of Speech on Campus: Rights and Responsibilities in UK Universities
Universities UK
This report considers the role of universities in promoting academic freedom and freedom of speech, and some of the constraints surrounding these freedoms. These issues are not straightforward and are often contested. The report does not offer easy solutions or absolute rules but seeks to map out the different considerations that might need to be taken into account in the reconciliation of sometimes competing interests. It also aims to illustrate how universities have addressed these issues in the past. The report starts by examining the meaning of academic freedom and freedom of speech: concepts which are often invoked but rarely defined. It then explores the contemporary context in which universities are operating, both in terms of the diversity of current student populations, and the wider national environment. It summarises the relevant law, and describes the Government's security strategy and other security initiatives and structures. It then reviews the various ways in which universities from across the UK have addressed these challenges and sought to reconcile differing priorities, drawing on an on-line survey conducted by Universities UK of all its members in 2010. Despite media accusations of complacency by universities in relation to security matters, the survey findings confirm how unjustified such accusations are and how seriously universities take their responsibilities in relation to the safety and security of their staff and students, alongside their obligations to protect and promote free speech and academic freedom. The report builds on previous work carried out by Universities UK, in particular with regard to promoting good campus relations. It is intended to be of assistance to universities who wish to find out more about these issues when responding to developments on their campuses. It is also hoped that it will be of interest to a wider readership seeking to understand why freedom of speech and academic freedom are so important to universities, and the context in which universities engage with competing interests on campus. Appended are: (1) National and sector resources; (2) Example university codes of practice; (3) The law: a summary of the legal framework; and (4) Applying the law in practice: three case studies.
Universities UK. Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ, UK. Tel: +44-20-7419-4111; Fax: +44-20-7388-8649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Universities UK (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Education Reform Act 1988 (England)