Hosting Speakers or Performers
Whilst planning activities and events for your group, you may want to invite speakers or performers to come along and present, talk, perform, or host a debate for students.
By inviting someone in to present, give a talk, perform, or host and event, the group is doing what is called 'giving someone a platform', which means that the activity is giving this person a position that gives them more access to the audience/attendees that they would get if they were not invited by the group.
Any activity that involves giving someone a platform is subject to extra checks, because the Union and University have policies that lay out rules regarding who can be given a platform and what kind of activities can take place when someone is given a platform.
Please remember that it's not just external people who can be given a platform at your meetings - if you invite a University member of staff or student to attend your activity and they are doing so from a position of authority (e.g. they are giving a talk, presenting, performing, etc.) then they need to be treated the same way in the procedures below.
Procedure for planning an activity involving a Speaker
For ease, we're going to use 'speaker' to refer to anyone given a platform according to the information above.
Plan any events involving a speaker as far in advance as possible - you will need to submit either a room booking form or event proposal form for your event, and the absolute minimum amount of time you can submit a form involving a speaker is 10 working days in advance of the date of the activity.
This is because the Union has to go through a series of checks on the speaker, and if we have to refer it to the University for their input, as we sometimes do, then the University can take up to two weeks to respond.
The form you will need to fill in is either a room booking form or event proposal form, according to what activity you are planning. Room booking forms are where you just need to book a room (for example a University lecture theatre). Event Proposal forms are for where you want to book a different venue (for example one of the Union bars or an external venue) or where there is more going on at the event than can be properly described on the room booking form.
You need to give as much detail as possible in the boxes asking for details of the speaker - the most common delay is staff having to return the forms and ask for more detail.
You need to send a copy of the below 'Guidance for Speakers' to your speaker, and ask them to email confirming that they have read and accept it. That email needs to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, either by yourself or by your speaker. We recommend doing this when you send in the room booking or event proposal form, to save delays.
Guidance for Speakers
The Union is in the process of reviewing and updating the guidance for speakers, and ancitipate a new version being available during the Autumn term, 2016.
The current version, which should be read and agreed by speakers in advance of events, can be found in PDF and Microsoft Word formats by the links below.
Rules and Policies
Legally, the Union is responsible for all of your activities, and this includes responsibility for ensuring that topics of presentation or discussion comply with all the relevant legislation and policies relating to freedom of speech, safety, safe campus spaces, discrimination and equality.
Some key rules and policies that apply are:
- No platform for speakers who hold discriminatory or fascist views - SUUG No Platform Policy
- No gender segregation at events - SU & Uni Equality and Diversity Policy Statement
- Any filming or photography must have permission from those being filmed/photographed, by signed release forms or information posters at the activity - legal requirement
- Communication that is hateful, threatening, abusive, insulting, or designed to cause alarm or distress is expressly forbidden, as well as inciting anyone else to do so - legal requirement