The OfS opened an investigation in October 2021 in relation to the University of Sussex.
The investigation is focused on whether or not the university has met its obligations for academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law for all students and staff, whatever their views.
The OfS’s investigation is considering whether the university has complied with general ongoing conditions E1 and E2 which give regulatory force to the public interest governance principles for academic freedom and freedom of speech. It is also considering matters relating to general ongoing condition E3 which places responsibility on a provider’s governing body for compliance with all conditions of registration.
A decision to open an investigation means that the OfS has identified potential concerns that require further scrutiny. The fact that the OfS is conducting an investigation should not be interpreted as indicating that any form of wrongdoing has actually taken place.
The OfS will not be commenting further on this investigation while it is ongoing.
The OfS considers academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law to be essential to the strength of the higher education sector in England. Students are entitled to be taught by academic staff with a wide range of views and who can freely express lawful views, no matter how controversial they are, without fear of losing their jobs or privileges. All students and staff are also entitled to the protections offered by equality legislation, and these must extend to all protected characteristics, including philosophical beliefs.