Freedom of Speech Policy
Procedures governing the preparation for and conduct of meetings and any other assemblies on College premises:
1 The following Procedures shall apply to any meetings or activities falling within the meaning of the General Regulation on Freedom of Speech, viz:
"Any meetings or other activities where there is a real likelihood that the speaker may not be able to enter or leave the building safely or deliver his or her speech..."
1.1 The organisers of any such event shall ensure that a single person is appointed as principal organiser of the event.
1.2 The principal organiser of such an event shall ensure that (in the case of external bookings) at least twenty working days, or (in the case of speakers invited by staff or students of the College) at least ten working days, before the date proposed for the event notice of the proposal is given to the Registrar and Secretary. Such notice shall contain a written statement of the name of the speaker, the subject of the address and the precise timing of arrival and departure of the speaker. In those cases where shorter notice is unavoidable the Registrar and Secretary shall be empowered at his or her discretion nevertheless to grant permission for the use of College premises as set out in these Procedures.
1.3 Within five working days of receiving such notice the Registrar and Secretary shall issue a statement which shall either grant or withhold permission for the use of College premises as proposed for the conduct of the event.
1.4 Permission so granted may be granted subject to such conditions as the Registrar and Secretary considers reasonably necessary to secure fulfilment of the statutory responsibilities of the College concerning the protection of the speech within the law, and may include conditions concerning admission or exclusion of press, television or broadcasting personnel.
1.5 The principal organiser and every other person concerned with the organisation of an event for which permission has been granted shall be required to comply with any and every condition laid down by the Registrar and Secretary under these Procedures. Such conditions may include a requirement that tickets must be issued for public meetings and that an adequate number of stewards shall be available, as to whose suitability the Registrar and Secretary must be satisfied, in addition to any security staff that he or she the Registrar and Secretary may feel must be present to maintain order.
1.6 The organisers shall have a duty to see that nothing in the preparations for or conduct of a meeting or activity infringes the law (for example by conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace or incitement to illegal acts).
1.7 The Chair of the meeting shall have a duty so far as possible to secure that both the audience and the speaker act in accordance with the law during the meeting. In case of unlawful conduct the Chair is required to give appropriate warnings and, in case of continuing unlawfulness, to require the withdrawal or removal of persons concerned by the stewards or security staff.
1.8 No article or objects may be taken inside the building where the meeting is taking place or taken or used elsewhere on College premises in circumstances likely to lead to injury or damage.
1.9 Premises used for meetings or activities must be left in clean and tidy condition, in default of which the organisers shall be charged for any additional cleaning and repairs that are subsequently required. Payment in advance or evidence of ability to pay towards these costs may be required.
2 In addition to the conditions required by the Procedures set out at 1.1 to 1.9 above, the Registrar and Secretary shall have discretion to lay down further conditions, if appropriate, after consultation with the police. He or she may, for example, require the designated meeting or activity to be declared public (which would permit a police presence); he or she may arrange for College staff to be responsible for all security arrangements connected with the meeting or activity and appoint a member of staff as Controlling Officer for the occasion. If not satisfied that adequate arrangements can be made to maintain good order he or she may refuse or withdraw permission for the meeting or activity (such a step normally only being taken on the advice of the police).
Appeals against the rulings of the Registrar and Secretary may be made to the Chair of the Council whose decision shall be final, and must be reported to the next meeting of the Council.
Approved by Council: 8 July 1997.
Amended editorially to reflect the amendment to General Regulations transferring responsibility for Freedom of Speech to the new office of Registrar and Secretary in 2007.