Russell Group response to student-led proposals to champion campus free speech

01 February 2021

In response to student-led proposals to champion campus free speech published in Wonkhe today (1 Feb 2021), which include a new code for students’ unions, Russell Group Policy Manager Adam Clarke said:

"Universities, students and government all want to protect free speech and ensure robust academic debate. Engaging with challenging ideas is a vital element of the academic experience in UK universities.

"As Wonkhe’s analysis shows, the overwhelming majority of planned students' union events go ahead, giving speakers the opportunity to present controversial ideas on campus, which students can interrogate.

"The proposals in this report are intended to help students' unions broaden the range of views students are exposed to and continue to champion free speech on campus effectively. It sets out sensible additional steps students' unions can take as independent bodies to protect free speech and how universities can support them in this critical work.

"The creation of a new free speech code with an explicit goal of increasing the volume and diversity of debates on campuses would help students' unions go further in their efforts to defend and maintain freedom of expression."

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