Impact of the Universities and Counter-terrorism: PREVENT in Practice conference

Universities and Counter-terrorism: PREVENT in Practice

The ‘Universities and counter-terrorism: PREVENT in practice’ conference organised by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) and Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) at the School of Advanced Study and supported by the University of London, has been in the media spotlight and is helping to continue debate.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which aims to combat the underlying ideologies which support and sanction terrorism, has placed new statutory obligations on a range of authorities and institutions – including universities across the UK.

The one-day conference on 27 October explored both the ideas underpinning the new Act, the debates surrounding academic freedom and freedom of expression, and the practical questions which universities will need to address in the light of their duty to prevent radicalisation.

In his keynote address to the conference, the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, former business secretary and member of the Coalition cabinet, considered the Conservative government’s current counter-extremism strategy and argued that it is highly problematic to introduce new duties for universities, beyond the existing legal constraints on freedom of speech.

It received media coverage in numerous outlets including The Guardian, THE; Liberal Democrat Voice; The Telegraph; The Herald; Daily Mail; Best Education News; Education News; Liberal England;; Capital Bay; the Christian Institute; and the Lancashire Telegraph (print edition).

Recordings from the sessions are available online from the links below:

Programme and resources

10.00 – 11.30 – Historical and Legal Contexts of Extremism and Radicalisation
Chair: Professor Philip Murphy, Deputy Dean, School of Advanced Study
Speakers: Professor Anthony Glees (University of Buckingham); Dr Nadya Ali (University of Reading); Professor Ian Cram (University of Leeds) – video

11.30 – 12.30 – Keynote Address: Rt. Hon. Sir Vince Cable – video / transcript (check against delivery)

13.30 – 15.00 – Prevent in Practice: Surveillance & Protest
Chair: Dr Damien Short (Senior Lecturer in Human Rights, School of Advanced Study)
Speakers: Dr Rizwaan Sabir (Liverpool John Moores University); Dr Eric Metcalfe (Monckton Chambers); Rachel Robinson (Liberty); Rachael Jolley (Index on Censorship) – video

15:20 – 17.00 – Discussion Forum
Chair: Maureen Boylan (University of London)
Discussants: Dr Jessie Blackbourn (Kingston University); Stuart Brown (Head of ICT, University of London); Andrew Howarth (Deputy Head of Residential Accommodation) – video