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WonkHE and NUS roundtable: Students' unions and freedom of expression

You are invited to a virtual round table meeting on students’ unions and freedom of expression, to be held on Friday 6 November, 11:00 - 12:30pm.

Hopefully you will have seen the publication of a blog back on 10 October from a group of SU officers that explains the thinking behind this work. Wonkhe later published a blog explaining where the government might be headed with this agenda that underlines its importance and urgency.

Colleagues at Wonkhe are convening this work in collaboration with NUS, initially through the organisation of and support for two national (focussed on England) roundtable events, one aimed specifically at SUs. We will be continuing to support this work and will also contribute to the round table meeting.

On the day we’ll introduce the work and give an overview of some of the areas where we believe that interrogating practice, developing guidance and promoting standards may help to give confidence to students, institutions and the wider public on students' unions’ commitment to freedom of expression.

This will include brief observations on:

•    Processes to evaluate external speakers and “no platforming”;
•    Hosting controversial speakers;
•    Students’ union funding - value and transparency;
•    The governance of students’ unions;
•    Political debate and activity, and SU campaigns work;
•    Support and funding for student clubs and societies;
•    The election of and accountability of SU officers;
•    Students’ union advocacy and welfare work for individual students;
•    The regulation of and complaints about students’ unions;
•    Student satisfaction with students unions, associations and guilds;
•    Training and support for student governors and members of academic boards/senates.

If you feel there is a potential line of inquiry that the above list does not cover, or have any questions, please do get in touch or contact our collegues from Wonkhe. On the day as well as seeking feedback on the work, we will also set out some initial thoughts on an approach to its development over the next couple of months.

Ideally each SU attending would send an officer and manager with responsibility in this area. A link to registration for the meeting can be found here.