As a University we have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law, and to ensure that a diversity of voices and views can be heard on our campuses and our online events.  We have a vital role to play in convening difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversation, and in curating the spaces in which ideas that some may find challenging or unpopular can be expressed and debated.   

Our new Speaker Code of Practice (.pdf) is designed to ensure that we support academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law, while putting measures in place for consultation and counter-speech and making available support for members in our community who may find some lawful views objectionable or offensive. 

All members of our community are required to follow the Code.

Please also make sure you are familiar with our policies:

Training for staff

The new Code requires all Activity Owners to have completed the Speaker Code of Practice Moodle module before accessing and submitting the External speaker notification form. The module will take 10 minutes to complete.

We’ve also added a new scenario to our How We Work at Essex training (Alexis Lesson 3) to explain our expectations and help support and guide staff who are planning to invite an external speaker to an event.  

If you are asked to submit an event notification form on behalf of an Activity Owner, you are both required to complete the Speaker Code of Practice Moodle module so that you both understand the notification and approval process. 

Training for students

 As well as the Moodle module, students will also be asked to familiarise themselves with the Student Union’s event toolkit to ensure they have all the tools required for organising a safe and successful event.   

Information for External speakers

To ensure our external speakers know what's expected of them, we have a new webpage for you to share with your invited speakers. This includes information about our policies and processes, as well as IT and travel information.   

Our community

Freedom of speech within the law is an essential part of academic and University life and flourishes where there is tolerance of, and respect for, a wide range of views and beliefs.  We also strive to be an inclusive community for all members, regardless of background or characteristics and to ensure that all members of our community feel welcome. 

We’d like to hear from you if you have any concerns about an external speaker who has been invited or is attending an event organised by the University or our Students’ Union.

Any questions?

Get in touch with our Compliance Manager (Safeguarding), Rachel A. Brown, by emailing