Almost 200 university speakers, events rejected in 2020/21

New figures show that almost 200 speaker requests or events were rejected by English universities or other higher education institutions in 2020/21, writes Catherine Lough for The Independent.

The numbers, published by the Office for Students (OfS), show that out of 19,407 external speaker requests or events, 193 were rejected in 2020/21, compared with 94 in 2019/20, 141 in 2018/19 and 53 in 2017/18. The figures are the highest on record since the OfS began collecting data in 2017. Some 632 events went ahead subject to conditions.

Susan Lapworth, interim chief executive at the OfS, said the organisation would be “concerned if those cases suggest that lawful views are being stifled”. She said: “This data shows that more than 99% of events and speaker requests were approved in 2020/21 and suggests that – in general – universities and colleges remain places where debate and the sharing of ideas can thrive … However, it is the case that the number and proportion of rejections sharply increased in 2020/21, with almost 200 speakers or events rejected.”
Full report on The Independent site