Provost to chair new Universities UK working group
6 January 2010
'Freedom of thought is all we foment': Article by Professor Grant in Times Higher Education
UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant is to chair a new working group established by Universities UK which will consider how universities can best protect academic freedom while taking appropriate action to prevent violent extremism.
The establishment of the working group follows the response to the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the USA on Christmas Day for an attempted act of terrorism. Mr Abdulmutallab studied for an undergraduate degree in Engineering and Business Finance at UCL between 2005 and 2008.
Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, said: "It is essential that as a society we respond rationally to the issue of extremism. Universities UK therefore is fully supportive of the measured and effective response of UCL following the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. This is the only way of ensuring that we address the real issues and prevent acts of terrorism from occurring in the future."
The working group will build on the Universities UK publication Promoting Good Campus Relations and will consider how universities can work with all relevant organisations, nationally and locally, to ensure the protection of freedom of speech and lawful academic activities, whilst safeguarding students, staff and the wider community from violent extremism.