External Speaker Framework

September 6, 2022

We believe passionately that the right to express views and ideas freely, without fear of interference or persecution, is an essential party of democracy. Everyone has the right to free speech within the law, and, alongside our members, we work towards widening debate and challenge. We know that Freedom of Expression is an important aspect of students’ higher education experience, allowing them to think critically, challenge and engage with alternative perspectives.

Respectful debate and conversation allow us to challenge discrimination, eliminate intolerance and harmful perspectives and build strong and positive communities. Freedom of Expression includes the right to “offend, shock or disturb”, however, we are committed to ensure that this is not misused for the purpose of unchallenged hatred or bigotry.

As your Students’ Guild, we want to foster an environment where our members can participate fully, feel able to question and challenge, express new ideas, discuss controversial and or unpopular opinions within the law, and all without fear of intolerance or discrimination. We are committed to the principle that both debate and deliberation should not be suppressed, and we encourage and support our members to
engage, within the law, in both a constructive and responsible manner to contest any ideas they oppose openly and vigorously.

In exercising the right to freedom of expression, we expect our members to be tolerant of the differing opinions of others and to be tolerant of the diverse identities of others, in line with the core values of freedom from discrimination and the Students’ Guild core value of ‘radical inclusivity’. Notably, Freedom of expression also includes the right to peaceful protest; however, it should not be used to shut down debate or infringe on the rights of others.

As an independent member-led organisation, we let our students set the tone for the events they want to organise and the speakers they want to invite. We collaborate with the University to work towards increasing the number and diversity of debates, discussion and conversation taking place, by creating networks, resources, and support for student leaders to enable them to invite diverse, knowledgeable, and experienced speakers to host at their events.

Our framework, developed by students for students, aims to empower members to run stimulating, challenging and diverse opportunities for debate, discussion, and dialogue, promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression. It aims to manage and support these events in a way to ensure that they do not interfere with or deprive other people of their rights and to mitigate the risks posed by an event to allow for a balanced and respectful event, whilst considering the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation as prohibited by Equality Act 2010.