The Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) is the UK’s first university league table for campus censorship. We examine the policies and actions of universities and students' unions, and rank them using our traffic-light system.
Data accurate up until February 2018.
Traffic-light ranking system:
has banned and actively censored ideas on campus
has chilled free speech through intervention
has a hands-off approach to free speech
Birkbeck University and Birkbeck Students’ Union collectively create a hostile environment for free speech. The university, which has maintained its Amber ranking, warns students not to cause ‘needless offence’. The students’ union, which has maintained its Red ranking, holds a No Platform policy, banning racists and fascists. The institution’s overall ranking remains Red.
The university - AMBER
Birkbeck Principles of Dignity at Work and Study
Definition of harassment includes ‘remarks, gossip or jokes about an individual’.
Birkbeck Computing Regulations
'You must not cause needless offence.’
Due to the specific nature of this policy, it has been weighted as an Amber Action.
The students’ union - RED
External Speakers Protocol
‘An event will be considered “high risk” where the speaker’s profile, predictable behaviour, or the contents of their materials is likely to elicit a negative/distressed response from the membership, Birkbeck College or the general public.’
Union Procedures and Societies Handbook
‘Any speaker who is likely to be offensive, controversial or cause alarm must be disclosed with full details to the SU manager and trustee responsible for clubs and societies portfolio at the time of requesting a room booking; and the students’ union retains the right to withdraw an invitation to attend any event at any time that has been extended to an external person – whether they are speaking or not... The external person must not be subject to any sanctions of the UK government or “no platform” policy of the SU council.’