University of Sussex: Freedom of Expression

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd December 2022.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the status is of the Office for Students (OfS) investigation into academic freedoms at Sussex University and free speech launched in November 2021; and when the OfS will publish the findings of that investigation.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As the regulator for higher education in England, the Office for Students is an independent public body. Any investigations that they conduct are a matter for them and it is not for the department to provide comment.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill includes a range of measures aimed at protecting and promoting freedom of speech and academic freedom in higher education in England. In particular, it introduces a new complaints route for staff, members, students and visiting speakers, to be operated by the OfS, and creates a new statutory tort, enabling individuals to seek legal redress in the courts for loss they have suffered as a result of breaches of the specified duties.

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