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 April 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 chilling environment for free speech. The university, which has maintained its Amber ranking, warns students not to cause ‘needless offence’. The students’ union, which has moved to an Amber ranking, has an overly broad definition of a ‘high-risk speaker’ as part of its external-speaker policy. The institution’s overall ranking moves to Amber.
This profile was amended on 18 April 2018, after we were notified that the students’ union’s No Platform policy had lapsed.
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 - AMBER
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.’