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Visiting and External Speakers and Events Policy and Guidance

The University’s Visiting and External Speakers and Events Policy has been revised and re-approved by the Board of Governors in 2016, following a consideration and consultation process.

The previous policy was called the Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech and it formed a section of the Handbook of Student Regulations. However, the Policy applies to all staff, students and visitors to the University and it has therefore been reviewed and published as a stand-alone document.

Key features of the Policy:

  • All UK universities are legally required to have a Policy/Code of Practice on Visiting and External Speakers and Events
  • The Policy is underpinned by a legal duty to secure freedom of speech within the law on campus (and off campus in certain circumstances)
  • The right of freedom of speech, and the legal responsibilities and obligations on those exercising such freedoms extend to staff (academic and professional services), students and visiting speakers, including third-parties of the University
  • Freedom of speech should be secured within the law. This means that controversial and sensitive topics can be discussed, even if they cause offence to, or are critical of others. However, freedom of speech can be unlawful under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Counter-Terrorism and Security Act where the speaker promotes extremism, e.g., incites religious or racial or other forms of hatred or violence, as linked to the Prevent duty

The Policy should be read in conjunction with the University Statement on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech.

Speakers and Events take a range of forms:

  • speakers engaged in the routine course of teaching delivery such as presenting in a classroom or lecture setting as part of the programme delivery
  • speakers at University conferences, research seminars, presentations  and demonstrations
  • extra-curricular activities which may supplement understanding of a subject area of discipline
  • public lecture programmes and corporate events
  • tenant-led events and externally booked conferences and events
  • Students’ Union-led (or society-led) events
  • The Policy does not require that all events, such as a speaker brought into by a lecturer as part of a module to be risk-assessed in terms of whether the speaker  at the most senior levels, or complete documented assessments. However,  all events should have an ‘Organiser’ responsible for complying with the Policy.

Alongside the Policy is a range of guidance material:

Please contact Susan O'Donnell for any queries about the Policy and Guidance


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