The University is fully committed to the principle and promotion of freedom of speech and expression, and has a long tradition of seeking to safeguard them.
In compliance with its duties under the Counter-Terrorism and Securities Act 2015 (a.k.a., Prevent), the University has issued a Statement on Freedom of Speech, which is available at: http://www.registrarysoffice.admin.cam.ac.uk/governance-and-strategy/university-statement-freedom-speech.
Under section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 universities are required to issue a Code of Practice and the following Code has been approved:
Meetings and Public Gatherings on University Premises
Code of practice issued under section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986
1. Section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986, referring to freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics, and colleges, requires the Council to issue and keep up to date a code of practice to be followed by members, students, and employees of the University for the organization of meetings, etc., which are to be held on University premises, and for the conduct required of members, students, and employees of the University in connection with meetings, etc. This code of practice therefore applies to all members, students, and employees of the University, in respect of all University premises, which for the purposes of this code includes the Union Society. Outdoor, as well as indoor, meetings, etc., on University premises are included.
2. Members of the University are reminded that alleged offences under the general regulations for discipline may be brought by the University Advocate before the University Tribunal, the Court of Discipline, or the Summary Court, as appropriate.
Organization of meetings, etc., on University premises
3. Authority is required for meetings and public gatherings to be held on University premises, whether indoors or out of doors. In the case of accommodation assigned to a single Faculty or Department, the permission of the relevant Faculty or Departmental authorities is required. In the case of accommodation not so assigned, permission must be obtained from the central University authorities and, if a room is to be reserved, a booking must be made through the relevant office. The organizers of meetings, etc., must comply with any conditions set by the University authorities concerned for the organization of the meeting or other activity and the arrangements to be made. Such conditions may include the requirement that tickets should be issued for public meetings, that an adequate number of stewards should be available, that the police should be consulted about the arrangements, and that the time and place of the meeting should be changed. The cost of meeting the requirements, and the responsibility for fulfilling them, rests with the organizers.
4. In addition to seeking the permission referred to in paragraph 3, the organizers of all meetings, etc., to be held on University premises which are to be addressed or attended by persons who are not resident members of the University (except for academic meetings organized by the authorities of a Faculty or Department, or for any meetings or classes of meetings approved for the purpose by the Senior Proctor as being commonly or customarily held on University premises) are required to give notice to the Senior Proctor. This notice may be given on the form used to book University premises, a copy of which will be sent by the University authority concerned to the Senior Proctor. The organizers may also, if they wish, communicate directly with the Proctors to give further details. Information is required at least five clear days in advance (although the Senior Proctor may, at his or her discretion, agree to receive information closer to the time of the meeting than this). The information needed is the date and time of the meeting, the place, the names, addresses, and Colleges (if any) of the organizers, the name of the organization making the arrangements, and the name of any expected speaker, whether or not a member of the University.
5. The organizers of any meeting must comply with instructions given by a Proctor, by any other University officer, or by any other person authorized to act on behalf of the University, in the proper discharge of his or her duties. The attention of members of the University is drawn to Regulations 8 and 9 of the general regulations for discipline.
6. The provisions of section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 apply also to the Colleges in respect of their own members, students, and employees, and in respect of visiting speakers. Each College is requested by the University to name a senior member who will be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Act in that College and will co-operate as necessary with the Proctors. Members of the University are reminded that University disciplinary regulations apply on College premises as elsewhere in the Precincts of the University. A College may invite the Proctors to enter its premises.
Other legal requirements
7. The attention of organizers of public meetings and assemblies is drawn to sections 11 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, concerning processions and assemblies. Other legal requirements may affect the conduct of meetings, etc. A speaker, for example, who incites an audience to violence or to a breach of the peace or to racial hatred transgresses the bounds of lawful speech. Equally, assemblies of persons, even if directed to lawful purposes, cease to be lawful if they cause serious public disorder or breaches of the peace. Attention is also drawn to the provisions of the Licensing Acts, which apply to certain University premises, including the University Centre. These Acts require the licensee to maintain good order on licensed premises, and give the licensee the power to expel persons from the premises if he or she considers it necessary.
Application of the code
8. Any person who is in any doubt about the application of this code of practice to any meeting or public gathering in the University is under an obligation to consult the Senior Proctor, who will determine whether the provisions of the code apply.
The above information is taken from the Statutes and Ordinances.