We survey British universities, examining the policies and actions of universities and students’ unions, and rank them using our traffic-light system.
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
The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh University Students' Association collectively create a hostile environment for free speech. The university, which has moved to a Red ranking, places restrictions on 'inappropriate speech’, insists people us transgender pronouns and has disciplined a fraternity for making offensive jokes. The students' union, which has maintained its Red ranking, has banned rape apologists, the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Sun and offensive fancy dress. The institution’s overall ranking remains Red.
The university - RED
Dignity and Respect Policy
Definition of misconduct includes ‘inappropriate remarks or behaviour’.
Trans Equality Policy
‘Think of the person as being the gender that they want you to think of them as. Use the name and pronoun that the person asks you to. If you are not sure what the right pronoun is, then simply ask. If you make a mistake with pronouns, correct yourself and move on.’
The students’ union - RED
Safe Space Policy
‘All members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which is respectful and considerate of the contributions of others. This is defined as... allowing council members to speak when called upon by the chair… refraining from speaking over, interrupting, heckling, laughing at or otherwise distracting from the speaker who holds the floor… Refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made. Disagreements should only be evident through the normal course of debate... Avoid using gestures which are not generally known or accepted by the council... Gestures indicating agreement are permissible, if these gestures are generally understood and not used in an intimidating manner... Applause is acceptable when a motion is passed only, not if a motion fails to pass. Otherwise, agreement should be made clear within debate contributions.’
End Rape Culture and Lad Banter on Campus
Resolves to: ‘No Platform known rape apologists such as George Galloway… UniLad and other lad-culture promoters trivialise rape and by doing [so] contribute to a culturally permissible attitude to rape which is disgusting and cannot be allowed by our union.’
Boycotts and Affiliations
‘As a result of a 2012 referendum question, EUSA's trading committee removed the Sun from its outlets until they cease to publish Page 3 girls.’
Due to the specific nature of this policy, it has been weighted as a Red Action