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Free speech on campus: winning young hearts and minds

Wednesday 9 August 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


This event is free but please book a place in advance via Eventbrite.

The new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act passed in May puts more responsibility on universities to ensure students are able to speak freely in and out of the classroom. But since then, the refusal to show the film Birthgap in Cambridge University and attempts to cancel Kathleen Stock at the Oxford Union suggests that much remains to be done to develop a new culture of free and open debate at universities.

Many students – and even academics – report they self-censor and fear ostracisation for speaking out. Student societies often encounter problems when wanting to discuss ‘controversial’ topics or invite diverse speakers. Given the new duty of free speech, how can students use this to their advantage? Can students who support academic freedom be encouraged to champion free speech on campus? Given the apparent sensitivity to discomfort among young people, how can we win students themselves to the cause of critical inquiry, free expression, and open debate?

Jack Barwell
student; founder, Speak Easy, University of Exeter
Felice Basbøll project assistant, Ideas Matter, history student, Trinity College Dublin.
Stani Huepfl politics and international relations student, London School of Economics
Omar Loubak Mohamed
student; founder, Speak Easy, Royal Holloway, University of London

Alastair Donald
 convenor, Living Freedom

Now woke universities are ditching boozy Freshers Weeks because they are not ‘inviting and inclusive’ enough!,

Dawn Thompson, MailOnline, 30 July 2023

The Oxford kids are alright
Kathleen Stock, UnHerd, 1 June 2023

Freedom of Speech Act: How it will affect university students
The Education Hub, 30 May 2023


Wednesday 9 August 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Ideas Matter Club
5-8 The Sanctuary
London, England SW1P 3JS United Kingdom
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