Freedom of speech and academic freedom are central tenets of University life and underlie the University’s Code of Practice on Meetings and Events.
The code seeks to help ensure both that freedom of speech within the law is secured for the University’s members, students and employees and for visiting speakers and that the use of any of its premises is not denied to individuals or bodies on any ground connected with their beliefs, views, policies or objectives. The University will always aim to allow an event to go ahead, provided that it is within the law and does not pose unacceptable risks to individuals, and will work with the organisers towards this goal.
Organising meetings or events
If you are a student and/or employee of the University and are organising meetings or events or are responsible for administering external bookings of University or Oxford SU premises, you have a responsibility under the University’s Code of Practice on Meetings and Events to assess whether there are particular major risks or issue associated with the meeting or event which the Proctors should be notified about.
Any meeting or event which is not part of the academic curriculum or co-curriculum and which is:
- to be held on University or Oxford SU premises (whether outdoors or indoors), including those organised by third parties; and/or
- University funded, affiliated or branded regardless of location; and/or
- all online meetings and events specifically run by staff, students or an affiliated group - if they are branded and presented as a University event.
Needs to be assessed and if it is identified that it
- may give rise to an environment in which people will experience, or could reasonably fear, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse or violence, particularly (but not exclusively) on account of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation; and/or
- is likely to pose a risk to the safety of those lawfully on University premises; or that it may prompt a risk to public safety.
Then you need to seek advice from the Proctors’ Officers (email: email@example.com, tel: (2)87394 or (2)77223). They can discuss with you any concerns and also help identify if this event or meeting should be formally identified to the Proctors.
If a meeting or event is to be referred to the Proctors an Event Referral Form (see below) should be completed. The Proctors’ Office can provide help with completing the form.
Please do ensure this form is submitted at least 7 working days in advance of the meeting or event.
The Proctors will act in a risk-based and proportionate manner and with the object, wherever possible, of enabling events or meetings to proceed.
The Proctors may impose conditions on holding the event or meeting, including potentially postponing or relocating it, and will promptly communicate their decision, with reasons. The organisers are responsible for fulfilling any such conditions. It is strongly recommended that you get in touch with the Proctors’ Officers at the earliest possible stage in planning your event and make any notification to the Proctors under the code as soon as possible, to allow time for any conditions to be fulfilled.
Proctors have the right to cancel a meeting or event if they consider that the risks cannot be mitigated, or if the organisers refuse to comply with any conditions imposed, even if an Event Referral Form has not been provided.