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MEETINGS ON COLLEGE PREMISES

Code of Practice issued under Section 43

1. Section 43 of the Education Act (No.2) 1986 places a duty on the College to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for its members, students and employees and for visiting speakers. A copy of the section is annexed to this code.

2. The section also requires that the College issue and keep up to date a Code of Practice to be followed by members, students and employees of the College in the organisation of meetings that are to be held on College premises and in the conduct required of those persons in connection with meetings. In this Code "member" means any member or employee of the College including a Fellow, officer or student. The Code of Practice therefore applies to all members of College in respect of meetings on any of the College's premises. Outdoor, as well as indoor, meetings on College premises are included.

3. Members of the College are reminded that actions which impede freedom of speech within the College and any breaches of the requirements of this Code, including a failure to give any notice required to be given by this Code, may constitute conduct prejudicial to the interests, well-being, discipline or good order of the College, and that proceedings may be brought against members in respect of such conduct under the Statutes. This applies to conduct at ALL meetings held on College premises, including meetings organised by conferences and outside bodies. Members of the College are further reminded that actions that disrupt meetings or impede freedom of speech or lawful assembly will also constitute offences under the University's regulations for discipline (see paragraph 9 below).

Organisation of Meetings on College Premises

4. Anyone organising a meeting (including a lunch or dinner) which is not a customary meeting to be held anywhere on College premises to which a speaker (e.g. a guest speaker) who is not a resident member of College is invited or at which more than 20 persons are expected to be present, whether or not the meeting is open to the public, shall obtain approval of the arrangements for the meeting from the Dean (or his designate) not less than three days beforehand. If a room is to be reserved, a booking must also be made through the Bursar's Office.

An application for approval of arrangements should state the name of the member of College taking responsibility for the meeting, the date and time of the meeting, the place within the College, the names, addresses and colleges (if any) of the organisers, the name of the organisation making the arrangements, the name of any expected speaker, whether or not a member of the University, and the details of any special arrangements being made for the meeting.

5. The Dean (or his designate) may set conditions for approving the arrangements for a meeting to which paragraph 4 applies and the organisers may only hold the meeting if they comply with these conditions. Such conditions may include the requirement that tickets must be issued for a public meeting, that an adequate number of stewards should be available, that the services of porters should be hired, that the police should be consulted about the arrangements, that the time and place of the meeting shall be changed, and that the meeting may be ordered to be cancelled on account of a threatened breach of the peace. The cost of meeting the requirements, and the responsibility for fulfilling them, rest with the organisers.

6. In paragraph 4 "customary meeting" means any meeting which is held as part of the ordinary social activities of the College, any administrative meeting of any body or group within the College, and any meeting which the Dean (or his designate) has approved for this purpose as being customarily held within the College.

7. No person attending a meeting on College premises shall interfere with the freedom of speech of any member of the College or of any invited visiting speaker.

Conduct at Meetings on College Premises

8. The organisers of any meeting on College premises, and persons attending the meeting, must comply with instructions given by any College Officer or by any other person authorised to act on behalf of the College (including the Proctors) in the proper discharge of their duties. Failure to comply with such instructions may constitute conduct prejudicial to the interests, well-being, discipline or good order of the College, and proceedings may be brought against members in respect of such conduct under the Statutes. Any person attending a meeting who is not a member of the College may be required at any time to leave the College's premises, notwithstanding any payment he may have made to attend the meeting.

The University

9. The provisions of Section 43 of the Education (No.2) Act 1986 apply also to the University in respect of all its members, students and employees and visiting speakers. The College may invite the Proctors to enter its premises and authorise them to act in the discharge of their University duties. Members of the College are reminded that University disciplinary regulations apply on College premises as elsewhere in the precincts of the University, and their attention is particularly drawn to the following University regulations for discipline:

  1. No member of the University shall intentionally or recklessly disrupt or impede or attempt to disrupt or impede the activities and functions of the University or any part thereof, or of any College.
  2. No member of the University shall intentionally or recklessly impede freedom of speech or lawful assembly within the Precincts of the University. No member of the University shall intentionally or recklessly fail to give any notice which is required to be given to a University officer or a University authority under the terms of a Code of Practice issued under the provisions of Section 43 of the Education (No.2) Act 1986.
  3. All members of the University shall comply with any instruction given by a University officer, or by any other person authorised to act on behalf of the University, in the proper discharge of his duties.
  4. All members of the University shall state their names and the Colleges to which they belong when asked by a Proctor or Pro-Proctor, or by any other person in authority in the University or in any of the Colleges in the University.

Other legal requirements

10. The attention of organisers of public meetings and assemblies is drawn to Sections 11 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, concerning processions and assemblies. Further details are given in a separate notice, a copy of which should be obtained from the Deanery. Other legal requirements may affect the conduct of meetings. A speaker, for example, who incites an audience to violence or to breach of the peace or to racial hatred commits a criminal offence. Equally, assemblies of persons, even if directed to lawful purposes, cease to be lawful if they threaten serious public disorder or breaches of the peace.

Application of the code

11. Any person who is in any doubt about the application of this Code of Practice to any meeting or public gathering in the College is under an obligation to consult the Dean who will determine whether the provisions of the code apply. Any person has the right to appeal to the College Council against the Dean's decision.

12. Breach by any member of the College of any of the requirements of this code may be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.

NOTE

13. This Code is maintained to comply with the Education (No.2) Act 1986, and is generally consistent with those adopted by other Colleges. It should not be seen as a means of wilfully restricting freedom of speech or assembly, which the College would regard as antithetical to its aims and functions.