Professor Kathleen Stock: Resignation Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Professor Kathleen Stock: Resignation

Baroness Morris of Yardley Excerpts
Tuesday 16th November 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I am happy to share my noble friend’s suggestion with the Secretary of State, but I know that he would also support the independence and autonomy of universities. The Government are seeking to make crystal clear their duties in relation to freedom of speech and how those can be enforced.

Baroness Morris of Yardley Portrait Baroness Morris of Yardley (Lab)
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My Lords, one of the most disturbing aspects of what Professor Stock has had to endure is that some academic staff seem to have encouraged students to behave in a way that is quite contrary to the purpose of being at university. If higher education stops being a place for open debate and discussion, we as a nation really do have problems. But, sadly, Professor Stock is not the only person in this position, and, while I welcome the report that she has announced on the University of Sussex, noble Lords and the Minister will be aware of named people who are going through this as well. What can she do now to make sure that, in several weeks’ time, we are not having a debate about further resignations from university posts?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Baroness is absolutely right. The Government have been crystal clear about their view on these issues. We have heard today about the investigation on the part of the Office for Students, which will, I am sure, cause other university leaders to reflect. Perhaps your Lordships might consider the number of amendments to the Bill, when it comes to your Lordships’ House.