HEPI freedom of expression polling

23 June 2022

Commenting on new polling from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) on student attitudes to freedom of expression, Russell Group director of policy Sarah Stevens said:

"Freedom of expression is not an optional extra for UK higher education. It is a principle at the heart of the experience our universities provide. Russell Group members work incredibly hard to ensure students have every opportunity to engage with competing perspectives during their time at university.

“Protecting and promoting freedom of expression does not mean ignoring harassment or tolerating bullying. It does mean, however, accepting that people hold different views and engaging in debates where appropriate. Controversial speakers exercising their free speech within the law and individuals or groups who protest loudly against them both have a right to be heard.

"The balanced recommendations in this report reflect work already underway at our universities to build cultures of open debate, review codes of practice and – crucially - engage with student groups to address issues of marginalisation and vulnerability so everyone can take an active role in discussions on campus.”

Notes to Editors:

A statement of principles outlining the commitment of Russell Group universities to freedom of speech is available here.

Media Enquiries
Policy Enquiries

Follow us on Twitter