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Sussex VC and Students’ Union President appear before Human Rights Committee

Adam Tickell and Frida Gustafsson appear before the parliamentary Human Rights Committee

Adam Tickell and Frida Gustafsson appeared before the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday 10 January to discuss freedom of speech in universities.

The influential committee was hearing evidence at a time when free speech is high on the political agenda.

Giving evidence at the Committee, Adam Tickell said: “I don’t accept there’s been a chilling of free speech. There’s something of a generic misunderstanding about the nature of what is happening in universities at the moment.

“I can’t see any systemic evidence that free speech is being inhibited. There’s free speech every day in the classrooms and the seminar rooms because that’s how universities thrive.”

Talking about the Student Unions’ policy on external speakers, Frida Gustafsson told the committee: “Not agreeing with them [the speaker] doesn’t mean they shouldn’t speak.”

Other committee members included the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, the President of Edinburgh University Students’ Association and the Director of SOAS University of London.

The University’s Head of Public Affairs, Lenny Rolles, said: “The invitation to appear before the Committee provided an excellent chance for the University to inform the debate on this important issue.

“We welcome the chance to engage with all parliamentary committees, and regularly seek to do so. Our attendance this week was especially important because it’s a joint committee - incorporating members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords - so quite a rare opportunity.

The Committee will publish their report, including evidence from their inquiry, in the coming weeks. We look forward to their findings.”

Watch the Committee meeting:

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 12 January 2018

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