Introduction to Prevent
The key aspect of our Prevent Duty is that it should protect vulnerable people from being drawn into illegal actions, therefore our University Safeguarding policy and procedures will be used to assist and guide anyone being drawn into radicalisation.
All universities have a 'Duty' under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to play their part in reducing the possibility of radicalisation of their students and staff. This radicalisation could be from Far Right activists, Muslim fundamentalists, animal rights or some other group; these groups may hold or espouse radical ideas that may not be acceptable to all groups of society but the concern would be where these ideas are turned into illegal actions. The University's duty to uphold Freedom of Speech, Equality and Diversity or Freedom of Research would counter any idea that Prevent is a process of censorship or denial of one view versus another.
All external speakers that speak on University premises (including the Students' Union) are to be vetted to ensure they uphold the Freedom of Speech principles of the University and do not incite illegal activities. This requirement is not onerous or meant to curtail legitimate activities, merely to ensure there can be full, equal and legal debate.
There are likely to be four ways in which speakers are invited:
Students' Union societies - Managed by the SU
Conference & Events - Managed by the Conference Office, Campus Services
University Events - Managed by the Events Team
Through the academic teaching and research curriculum - Managed through Departments
Speakers attending activities off-campus under the management of the University are also required to be vetted, such as Alumni events held in the UK.
Advice and guidance on what to do if you plan to invite a speaker onto campus is enshrined in the Freedom of Speech Code of Practice here. When planning an event please contact the relevant organisation shown above to guide you through the vetting and risk management process.
Research of potentially sensitive or extreme material
The University carries out a wide range of research and the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech underpin all research and teaching. Universities play a vital role in carrying out research on issues where security-sensitive, radical or extreme material is relevant. It is not the intention of the Policy to prevent or restrict sensitive research but accessing, storage and circulation of security-sensitive, extreme or potentially radical research material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities, and can put authors in danger of arrest and prosecution under, for example, counter-terrorism legislation.
Therefore, all research must receive proper approval, and researchers must follow appropriate processes for conducting the research and storing the related research materials. In particular in order to meet its obligations under these regulations, the University has passed a Policy on Researching and Handling Sensitive, Extreme or Radical Material (June 2016), as a sub-policy to the Research Code of Conduct. Full details are available on the Research Support Services web pages. Further general guidance on research into sensitive material is here within Universities UK guidance entitled Oversight of Security-sensitive Research Material in UK Universities.
Further advice is available from the Safe Campus Communities web pages
Prevent Lead For the University
The Prevent Lead for the University is the Kirsty Woodward, Director of Campus Services.