Freedom of Speech on Campus and the Question of Israel

This lecture, hosted by Pro Vice-Chancellor Astrid Schloerscheidt, will be presented by Baroness Ruth Deech with a Q&A afterwards.

Freedom of Speech on Campus and the Question of Israel

This event will take place both on campus and online.

Free speech in general, and specifically on campus, is a topical and complex issue. There have been some high profile cancellations of visiting speakers at universities, and also instances of hate and racist speech. The government's response is the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, promoting and regulating the right of free speech. New laws may not be necessary given that there is existing legislation safeguarding free speech on campus; and it does not sit well with the government's plan to control speech on the internet through the Online Safety Bill. An issue that arises frequently and causes much controversy is speech about Israel, some instances of which have been met with resistance or have lapsed into antisemitism. Legislation may be less effective in dealing with this than the encouragement of informal debate, and the opportunity for students to meet each other - hence the value of the Zuckerberg and other international exchange scholarships.

About Baroness Deech

Principal St Anne's College Oxford University (1991-2004) & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (2001-4). M.A. Law Oxford, M.A. Brandeis. Chair UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (1994-2001); Governor of the BBC (2002-2006); Rhodes Scholarships Trustee (1996-2006). Mandela-Rhodes Foundation Trustee (2003-6). Honorary Queen’s Counsel 2013. Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-8). Gresham Professor of Law (2008-15). Chair of the Bar Standards Board (2009-2015). Board Member of the Law Commission (2019-22). Patron UK Lawyers for Israel. Author of report on Women Doctors 2009.

Appointed DBE 2003 and a life peer in 2005 and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench legislator. Member of the Select Committees on Communications, EU Justice, Services, and chair 2016 Lords Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability.

About the Sam Zuckerberg Scholarship

The Sam Zuckerberg Scholarship is a unique and transformational scholarship which brings an Israeli postgraduate student to study on a one-year master's course at Oxford Brookes University. What makes it unique is the connection between the scholar and the Oxford Jewish Community who set up and originally funded the scholarship. Members of the community and their friends provided the funds to set up the scholarship, pay the fees and living costs. The scholars deeply appreciate this and engage with the community as well as the local Jewish student life. What makes the scholarship transformational is the success that scholars have had over the years in changing the perception of Israel and Israelis on campus among their peers, the wider student body and the university as a whole. Find out more about the Sam Zuckerberg Scholarship