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No Platform: Speaker Events at University Debating Unions

  • 13 October 2022
  • By Josh Freeman
  • HEPI number 153

This report analyses the state of debate on UK university campuses, with particular reference to student debating societies. It finds existing problems include a lot of ‘quiet’ no-platforming, meaning students are put off from inviting external speakers by the hassle, cost and risk of controversy. While rejecting the idea that there is a free speech crisis, the report nonetheless recommends improvements to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to ensure it encourages lively, illuminating and well-attended events.

The 19 societies considered in detail in the paper are:

  1. Aberdeen Politics and International Relations
  2. Bristol Politics
  3. Cambridge Union
  4. Cardiff Politics
  5. Durham Union
  6. Essex Politics
  7. Hull Politics
  8. Imperial Debating
  9. Lancaster Politics
  10. LSE Debate
  11. Nottingham Politics
  12. Oxford Union
  13. Reading Politics
  14. Sheffield Politics
  15. Southampton Politics
  16. Stirling Politics
  17. Sussex Politics
  18. UCL Debating
  19. Warwick Union

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