SOAS University of London


SOAS statement on events held on campus

7 January 2016

In reference to articles published by The Telegraph and Daily Mail.

SOAS Registrar Laura Gibbs said:

SOAS and SOAS Students’ Union host hundreds of public events every year. As a university, we provide a forum for speakers who speak on a variety of subjects and represent different viewpoints. We encourage open debate and aim to create an atmosphere where all perspectives can be aired and challenged.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 is clear that while we must have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (section 26), that when carrying out that duty we must have particular regard to the duty to ensure freedom of speech (section 31). At SOAS, we are confident that the School is upholding these important principles.

We have long established due diligence procedures for all activities on our campus and we were fully aware of the events referred to. We protect and respect academic freedom and freedom of speech and expression but also recognise that these rights are not absolute - they are freedoms within the law. These events were legal and no concerns were raised with us by local police or Prevent officers.