Freedom of Speech Policy

Free speech is the lifeblood of a university. It enables the pursuit of knowledge. It helps us approach truth. It allows students, teachers and researchers to become better acquainted with the variety of beliefs, theories and opinions in the world. Recognising the vital importance of free expression for the life of the mind, a university may make rules concerning the conduct of debate but should never prevent speech that is lawful.

Inevitably, this will mean that members of the University/College are confronted with views that some find unsettling, extreme or offensive. The University/College must therefore foster freedom of expression within a framework of robust civility. Not all theories deserve equal respect. A university values expertise and intellectual achievement as well as openness. But, within the bounds set by law, all voices or views which any member of our community considers relevant should be given the chance of a hearing. Wherever possible, they should also be exposed to evidence, questioning and argument. As an integral part of this commitment to freedom of expression, we will take steps to ensure that all such exchanges happen peacefully. With appropriate regulation of the time, place and manner of events, neither speakers nor listeners should have any reasonable grounds to feel intimidated or censored.

It is this understanding of the central importance and specific roles of free speech in a university that underlies the detailed procedures of the University of Oxford/Wolfson College, laid out below.


College policy on Freedom of Speech

The College is committed to ensuring freedom of speech within the law. College members who are also students or employees of the University should also have regard to the University of Oxford Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech. [Issued on 9 February 2015 under section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986: University of Oxford Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech

Members, students and employees of Wolfson College must conduct themselves so as to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the College, and for visiting speakers.

The College agrees to the following principles governing Freedom of Speech on its premises and at its events:

  • All speakers and audience members alike are reminded of their responsibility to observe the College’s policy on harassment.
  • In any case where the College is proposing to grant permission to an outside organisation or group to hold meetings or events on College premises, the outside organisation or group shall be required to act in accordance with the College Policy on Freedom of Speech and with the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech.
  • If an event is likely to cause security concerns, the President reserves the right to relocate that event to premises where the safety of all participants can be properly provided for.
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Browse other policies that relates to this policy
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Events

The latest from Wolfson College

21 February 2019
Happy International Mother Language Day

Wolfson College celebrates International Mother Language Day.

18 February 2019
Washoku dinner hosted by Embassy of Japan at Wolfson College

Wolfson College was honoured to welcome the Embassy of Japan to host a Washoku dinner on 2 February 2019.

11 February 2019
'Reflecting the Landscape': photographs by Jenny Blyth

Jenny Blyth's exhibition 'Reflecting the Landscape' opens to public on 18 February 2019 to 28 March 2019. 

Our upcoming events

Family Friendly
24 - 24
Feb Feb
Wolfson Children’s Art Event
Sunday 24 February - 10:00am to 1:00pm

The Wolfson Family Society invites you to join in for a children’s art event on Sunday, 24th February, 10 am - 1 m, in the Haldane Room.

Children of all ages in Wolfson college are invited to explore and share their creativity. Where do different colours come from? How many colours can you make?

Clubs & Societies
24 - 24
Feb Feb
AMREF Afternoon tea goes international
Sunday 24 February - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

All are warmly invited to join the AMREF team for Afternoon Tea in the UCR. In the light of International Mother Language Day which takes place on 21 February 2019, we invite you to bring cake, snacks and sweets from your own country to share with each other! 

£1.25 donation for a slice of cake plus tea/coffee, charged on Bod card or through cash donations. All proceeds go to AMREF Health Africa.

Concert and Plays
24 - 24
Feb Feb
Fournier Trio Recital
Sunday 24 February - 5:00pm

Brahms:

Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78

Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87