York recognised for liberal free speech policies


The University of York has received the top ranking for free speech at universities in recent research.

The first ever UK-wide analysis of censorship on campuses awarded York a “Green” ranking in a three-point traffic-light system.

The analysis, which can be found here, further broke down the rating by giving the university itself an Amber rating and YUSU a Green rating.

A Green rating is awarded where: “A students’ union, university or institution that, as far as we are aware, places no restrictions on free speech and expression – other than where such speech or expression is unlawful.”

According to the survey, the university’s harassment policy counted against the institution’s free speech rating, possibly due to the ambiguity in interpreting the policy.

Whilst the student’s union did receive a Green rating, the research highlighted the YUSU’s banning of members of the hockey team, giving the action a Red rating.

Two members of the university hockey team had their YUSU membership axed following a scandal over racist and misogynistic posts to a private twitter account last term.

York does not have currently have any No Platform policies, but this could be set to change with a YUSU planning to hold a referendum over whether the university should affiliate with the BDS Israel Boycott Movement or not.

The research, carried out by anti-censorship Internet magazine Spiked, only gave out three Green ratings to the 24 universities in the Russell Group, Exeter and Southampton being the other two.

The survey awarded Red ratings to Oxford, UCL and LSE, whilst Cambridge received an Amber rating. York St. John also received an Amber rating.