03/06/2021 Motion 2: Freedom of Expression

Meeting Date – 03/06/2021

Motion 2 – Freedom of Expression

The branch notes:

1. The government proposal to severely curtail the right to free speech in universities

2. That this proposal seeks to restrict rights under the Education Act 1986, the Human Rights Act 1998, Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Equality Act 2010 and the UNESCO Recommendation on Academic Freedom 1997 to which the UK is a signatory

3.That the University of Roehampton does not have a particularly good record on resisting threats to academic freedom.

The branch believes that:

1. Universities are already bound by government legislation and have legally binding duty to support and actively encourage freedom of expression on campus

2. The freedom of expression is essential for the teaching and research of academic staff

3. Healthy, open debate in academic forums can foster ideas for positive change and lead to benefits for all including the state and its agents

4. The government proposals will result in the creation of a culture of fear and silence amongst university students, a trend already evidenced by research

5. The freedom of speech is fundamental to the student experience and their academic and professional development


To invite university management and Roehampton students’ union to join UCU in a campaign against all attempts to limit academic freedom