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HEPI / Advance HE Parliamentary Breakfast Seminar, 27 February 2024: ‘Has the higher education sector got it right on freedom of speech?: How can governors and managers best support difficult-and-lawful speech in practice?’

  • 27 February 2024
  • 8.30am to 10.15am
  • Houses of Parliament, London

On Tuesday 27 February 2024, HEPI and Advance HE host their first in-person seminar of the 2024 series at the Houses of Parliament, looking at freedom of speech.

Higher education institutions and students’ unions are currently preparing for their new responsibilities on promoting free speech and academic freedom. If they get it wrong, in England they stand to fall foul of the Office for Students, with financial as well as reputational penalties. But how can they best respond in practice? How should the new expectations on governors, managers and student leaders be balanced against their other duties, particularly the sector’s strong commitment to inclusion? Has the core role of universities to educate become lost in the culture wars, or are universities at least partly to blame for ending up in the eye of the storm? As a general election approaches and as geopolitical threats mount up, what should institutions do to meet the expectations of regulators, students and staff while staying within the law and sticking to their core objectives as educational and research institutions? 

With guest speakers:

  • Professor Adam Habib, Director, SOAS University of London
  • Professor Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology, Social Research Institute at UCL Institute of Education
  • Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading
  • Professor Tom Lawson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Northumbria University

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