Freedom of speech has risen to the forefront of many discussions around universities recently, and we’re excited to update you on some of the work your Students’ Guild has been doing to ensure we’re leading the way with widening debate. Following your feedback and suggestions we’ve created new updated policy and framework which takes account of the digital world we’re in, and incorporates the brilliant work of Guild President 20/21, Sunday Blake, in the sector-wide conversation about updating codes of practice.
Why are we doing this?
Earlier this year, we launched a review of our Digital Event Protocols and External Speaker Policy – this was to make sure that the policy would work for the whole community, particularly with the increased reliance on digital events. We’d once again like to thank all our societies and students for their patience throughout this review.
We’ve worked with student groups who have regularly encountered issues with processes, and we believe we’ve developed a flexible and supportive framework that promotes and protects the right to freedom of expression, whilst also helping to ensure activity does not interfere with or deprive other people of their rights in accordance with all relevant legislation, both for online and in-person events.
What does the new policy include?
- Our commitment to Freedom of Expression
- A Risk Management Framework and Procedure
- An Operational Management procedure
- Process and Procedure for events approval
- An extraordinary external speaker approval procedure
- Comprehensive training for groups, around Freedom of Expression, the External Speaker Framework, and speaker discussion Forum to empower and support students in running these types of events
- An Annual review of the External Speaker Framework with consultation from key stakeholders, including the University, Students’ Guild and Student Leaders to ensure it is fit for purpose and effective.
- Collaboration with the University to work towards increasing the number and diversity of debates, discussion and conversation taking place, by creating:
- Staff support for events considered to be high or medium risk to ensure student leaders have access to the support they need to run events successfully and safely
- Accessible online resources for Speaker Events to support students when running their events
- A Clear Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures