UCU responds to government plans for 'extremism clampdown'

17 September 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Plans due to be implemented at universities and colleges next week

UCU warned today that government plans to clamp down on extremism in schools, colleges and universities risked creating mistrust between lecturers and students and threatened freedom of speech.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The best response to acts of terror is to retain our universities and colleges as open democratic spaces, rather than close down debate and create mistrust between teacher and student, which is what these plans risk doing.

'Universities and colleges have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students and staff and not to allow activities which are intended to foment hatred or violence, or support for unlawful activities such as terrorism. However, universities and colleges rightly cherish, and must continue to promote, academic freedom as a key tenet of our civilised society. It is essential to our democracy and right to freedom of speech that views are open to debate and challenge within the law.'

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