||<p>Open and robust debate is how students should challenge those they disagree with.
There is no place for students that use intimidation or violence to attempt to shut
down the free and open exchange of ideas.</p><p>Universities have a legal duty to
secure freedom of speech for their members, students, employees and visiting speakers,
and must have clearly set out policies for how they will ensure that this can happen.
Universities also have a clear responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment
and no staff or student should ever feel threatened or intimidated. It is also essential
that they have clear policies and procedures to ensure that all students and staff
can live and work without discrimination, intimidation or harassment. We expect universities
to demonstrate how they will act swiftly to investigate and address hate crime, including
anti-Semitic related incidents, reported to them.</p><p>We have asked the Higher Education
Funding Council for England (HEFCE), in their role as regulator, to engage with University
College London (UCL) to ensure that their policies and procedures for events with
external speakers are fit for purpose and were implemented appropriately in this instance.
UCL have issued a statement on 11 November 2016 regarding the incident, which sets
out that they have launched an immediate investigation.</p><p>In September 2015 we
asked Universities UK (UUK) to set up a Harassment Taskforce. The Taskforce has recently
published a report which sets out that universities should adopt a zero-tolerance
approach to harassment and hate crime. The report has been attached to this answer.
We must now ensure that the work of the Taskforce goes on to make a real difference
to students across the country. The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research
and Innovation has asked UUK to survey progress in six months and make sure universities
are doing all they can to protect the safety and security of their students. We hope
that the new guidelines for universities issued alongside the UUK Taskforce report
will help universities in effectively tackling incidents such as these.</p>