Why does free speech matter?
Advancing ideas and learning through debate is a critical part of what universities and colleges do. So freedom of speech is essential to the interests of students.
This is why we want to protect and uphold it, and why universities and colleges should do the same.
It matters because it:
- exposes students to new and challenging ideas
- encourages robust but civil debate which respects and understands different viewpoints
- underpins the diversity of England’s higher education sector
- is a key part of giving students a high-quality higher education.
What do we mean by free speech?
We stand for the widest possible definition of freedom of speech: anything within the law.
English law restricts speech in some ways. It prohibits harassment, or incitement to hatred. But it does give people the right to say things which may shock or offend.
We want to make sure that students feel safe and are free to express themselves.
There is no place for violence, intimidation or criminality on university campuses. We also believe that censoring or marginalising some groups to protect others is not appropriate.