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
The University of Southampton and the University of Southampton Students’ Union collectively create a chilling environment for free speech. The university, which has moved to a Red ranking, bans ‘transphobic propaganda’ and restricts ‘offensive’ and ‘provocative’ speech. It also cancelled a controversial Israel conference after coming under public pressure. The students’ union, which has maintained its Green ranking, places no restrictions on speech, as far as we are aware. The institution’s overall ranking remains Amber.
The university - RED
Gender Identity Policy
‘Transphobic propaganda, in the form of written materials, graffiti, music or speeches, will not be tolerated. The university undertakes to remove any such propaganda whenever it appears on the premises.’
Dignity at Work and Study
Definition of harassment includes ‘telling jokes that are sexist, racist or about sexual orientation or religion’.
Code of Practice to Secure Freedom of Speech Within the Law
‘The university believes in free and open discussion. For this to be achieved, it requires all concerned to display tolerance and avoid needlessly offensive or provocative action and language… Is the subject matter, topic or title controversial or likely to evoke a strong emotive response if advertised to the general public? Is the speaker likely to express controversial views/likely to express views that may attract protest?’
16 March 2016
Cancels controversial Israel conference
The students’ union - GREEN
No policies or actions