Student Event External Speaker Policy
- The University of Hull and Hull University Union (HUU) are committed to freedom of speech and to facilitating staff and students to engage with a wide range of thought-provoking opinions in a safe environment. The Hull Graduate Attributes outline the role of critical and independent thinking, awareness of moral and ethical issues and awareness of students’ own, and other cultures, values and beliefs.
- Student safety and welfare are at the heart of UoH and HUU policies and practices. Therefore, the desire to uphold freedom of expression must be balanced with the requirement to ensure freedom from harm for students and communities. The aim of this policy is to establish a framework for reviewing and monitoring external speakers invited to events by students through groups (including, but not limited to, societies, sports teams, campaign and liberation groups and elected full and part-time officers). Both the HUU Trustees and the University of Hull Council have responsibilities to safeguard the reputation of their respective organisations.
- The policy applies to all external events promoted as associated with HUU regardless of their location (e.g. society events held off campus are still subject to the requirements of this policy).
- The policy aims to facilitate freedom of speech within the law, without infringing HUU’s Zero Tolerance, No Platform and Equality and Diversity Policy or the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy and its Prevention of Harassment Policy. In essence these policies provide protection against activities which:
• incite hatred, violence or call for the breaking of the law
• encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups or organisations that support such acts
• spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony
• purposefully insult and offend other groups identified by, for example, age, disability, faith, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, race, marriage or civil partnership status or maternity/paternity.
• raise or gather funds for any external organisation or causes which are not UK registered charities. Collections for such groups are only allowed by express permission of the HUU Trustees.
• pose a reputation risk to HUU or to the University of Hull.
- Members of University staff who wish to invite external speakers to campus as part of taught programmes, public lectures or standalone events should refer to the University’s External Speaker Policy.
What is an External Speaker?
- An external speaker is defined as any individual or organisation that has no official association or member status to either the University of Hull or HUU. Therefore an external speaker is anyone who is not:
- A current registered student of the University of Hull
- A member of staff of the University of Hull, including visiting lecturers and honorary staff
University of Hull alumni, associate members of Hull University Union and previous staff would all be classed as external speakers, however current students and members of staff are exempt from this process
Types of Events
- In the spirit of discourse and debate all external speaker events should include opportunities for question and answer and discussion.
- Where speakers / events will address contentious or challenging topics applicants are encouraged to consider the possibility of hosting structured debate to enable both sides of the issue to be explored.
- The HUU process for the review and monitoring of external speakers is built on a commitment to collaboration with the University. The process enables sound, evidence-based judgements about the organisation or person in question and allows both HUU and the University to meet their various legal obligations.
- The process of review is a two stage process and each application will be considered on a case by case basis. No external speaker event can be advertised until permission for the event has been granted.
- It is likely that in the majority of cases events will take place without the need for conditions to be met. It is not the desire nor the intention to prevent external speakers events from being delivered, however where it is deemed necessary to exercise our duty of care to ensure the safety of our students, staff and the wider community, a decision to reject, or approve with conditions, will be made.
- Applications for external speakers must be submitted via the External Speaker Request Form and emailed to the designated HUU staff member or submitted to the HUU reception
- Forms must be completed in full and submitted to the designated HUU contact no later than 2 full calendar weeks prior to the event. Any event submitted after this deadline will automatically be rejected.
- Where a speaker is high profile, known by the applicant to be controversial, or be speaking on a controversial subject, or is likely to attract media attention it is strongly recommended that the form is submitted no later than 4 full calendar weeks prior to the event. Such a measure will allow HUU and the University to undertake a full review and, if necessary, work with the applicant to put in place any necessary precautionary measures.
- On receipt of an application a nominated individual from HUU will review the application. This process will be completed within 5 working days of the application being received.
- Any speaker deemed not to require additional review or risk assessment or who is deemed to be uncontroversial will be approved at this point. Applicants will receive confirmation of this decision by email, the event cannot be publicised until the speaker has been approved.
- Applications for external speakers which are deemed to require additional review or risk assessment or who are deemed to be controversial will be referred to a joint University / HUU panel for consideration. Applicants will receive confirmation by email that their application has been referred to a panel.
- If a speaker is referred to a panel a summary document will be produced by the nominated individual from HUU for consideration by the joint University / HUU review panel.
- The review panel will comprise:
- University Registrar and Secretary (or their nominee) (Lead)
- HUU CEO or Membership Services Director
- One member of the HUU Union Executive Committee
- One member of Union Council who may be an additional member of the HUU Union Executive Committee
- Director of Student Services (or their nominee)
- University Safeguarding Lead
- University Faith Lead (if applicable)
- Any other co-opted individual who, as a consequence of experience and expertise, is deemed, by the University Registrar and Secretary, to provide insight and guidance on the application presented.
- The identified lead for the student group requesting the speaker (Society President etc) may be invited to meet the panel, or a panel representative, to provide contextual information or clarification on key issues to inform and expedite decision making.
- Panels will normally be conducted via electronic means.
- The panel will consider the evidence presented and may make one of the following decisions, ideally within 3 working days:
- Approve the speaker
- Request clarification from the applicant on any issues which are unclear
- Approve the speaker with conditions
- Reject the application and provide a rationale for rejection.
- Examples of conditions that may be applied to events include:
- restricting access to events to staff and students only (or staff / students and a guest)
- requesting independent observers at events (the possibility of the observers being a suitably qualified student will be explored)
- requiring that ‘closed’ events be open to a wider audience
- requesting an independent chair / facilitator for the event (the possibility of the chair / facilitator being a suitably qualified student will be explored)
- managing the publicity surrounding the event
- ensuring a balanced view is part of the event through requiring that the event takes the format of a debate
- requiring additional security to be present before / during the event
- requesting that events be recorded for review.
- HUU and the University will remain mindful of the possibility of conditions themselves to create risk.
- Any event that proceeds, following rejection at either Stage 1 or Stage 2 will result in an investigation under either HUU or the University’s Disciplinary Procedures.
- Where applicants wish to appeal a decision at Stage 1 or Stage 2 they may do so by writing to the HUU President who will review evidence with the University Registrar and Secretary.
- A record of decisions taken will be maintained and reviewed annually in order to ensure consistency of decision making and parity between events.
- An annual report will be produced highlighting the number and nature of referred events. Issues arising from these events will be used to review this policy and to enhance training and guidance for student groups.