Code of Practice

The following provisions constitute the Code of Practice adopted by Balliol College to operate with effect from 1 September 1987 to facilitate the discharge of the duty imposed by Sections 43(1) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986, in relation to the College and the University.

PART I: General Duties

1. General duty to uphold freedom of speech

Members (including students) and employees of the College are bound at all times so to conduct themselves as to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members and employees of the College and for visiting speakers.

2. The freedom protected by paragraph 1 of this Code of Practice is confined to the exercise of freedom of speech within the law.  Examples of statements which involve a breach of the criminal law are incitement to commit a crime, sedition, and stirring up racial hatred in contravention of statute. Statements may also be unlawful if they are defamatory or constitute a contempt of court.

3. General duty not to impede access to places at which the right of freedom of speech is exercised on premises of the College

Subject to such limitations on access as may lawfully be imposed by the competent College authorities, it shall be the duty of every member and employee of the College not to impede any person entitled to be present from entering or leaving a place where the right of freedom of speech is being or is to be exercised on premises of the College.

4. Right of peaceful protest

Nothing in this Code of Practice shall be taken to prohibit the legitimate exercise of the right to protest by peaceful means provided always that nothing is done which contravenes the foregoing general principles or the other requirements of this Code.

PART 2: Academic Activities

5. All persons concerned with the organisation or conduct of an activity which forms part of the College’s teaching, study or research (such as a tutorial, lecture, seminar, class, conference, research work, or examination) shall immediately give notice to the Dean of any facts coming to their notice which indicate that such activity is likely to be delayed or disrupted by improper means.

6. The Dean shall be empowered to give such direction and to adopt such measures as seem appropriate to the Dean to prevent or minimise the delay or disruption of an academic activity, and all persons concerned with the organisation or conduct of the academic activity under threat shall co-operate in carrying out the Dean’s directions and in facilitating the measures adopted.

7. In the event that any academic activity is delayed or disrupted by improper means a report shall forthwith be made to the Dean by the person or persons responsible for the conduct of such activity.

PART 3: Meetings and Assemblies on Premises of the College of Clubs, Societies, and other Organisations

8. The provisions in the College Rule concerning meetings are as follows:

Permission for parties or meetings in public College rooms (e.g. the Massey Room, the Pavilion, the Pilch Room, the Bajpai Room) or in the garden must be obtained from the Dean normally at least three days in advance. The room must be booked through the Assistant Domestic Bursar except for the Pilch Room, which should be booked through Dr O’Brien.

The Dean and the JCR Committee may give permission, subject to whatever conditions they think fit, for parties or meetings in public College rooms or in the garden respectively; when sufficient notice has been given and when refusal of permission is contemplated the Dean will consult the JCR Committee and, if he chooses, the Governing Body.

9. Any member, or employee of the College who, whether alone or in collaboration with other persons, makes arrangements for the holding on premises of the College of any meeting or assembly of persons (including any meeting of any club, society or other organisation and whether with or without a restriction to College membership), and who becomes aware of facts indicating that such meeting or assembly is likely to be delayed or disrupted by improper means, shall immediately report such facts to the Dean.

10. In relation to any such meeting or assembly which he believes to be threatened, the Dean shall be empowered to give such directions to require the adoption of such measures as seem appropriate to the Dean to prevent or minimise the improper delay or disruption, and all persons concerned shall be bound to co-operate in carrying out the Dean’s directions in facilitating the measures required to be adopted.

PART 4: Powers of the Dean in Relation to Threatened Meetings

11. Directions and measures to be adopted:

In relation to any academic activity or any meeting or assembly of persons which the Dean believes to be threatened by disruption, the Dean may give directions and require measures to be adopted pursuant to paragraphs 6 and 10 of this Code on the following (amongst other) matters:

  • the number of persons to be admitted to the premises where the meeting is to be held;
  • the issue of tickets of admission;
  • the designation of one or more persons as the official organisers of the meeting with direct responsibility to the Dean for all the arrangement thereof;
  • the designation of a person as the chairman of the meeting with responsibility for the proper conduct of such meeting;
  • the admission (or non-admission, as the case may be) of members of the University who are not members of the College, or members of the public generally;
  • the appointment of stewards to assist with the control of the meeting;
  • the employment of security staff to ensure the orderly conduct of the meeting and safe access to and egress from the meeting;
  • the carrying of banners, placards and similar objects into the meeting;
  • the place where the meeting is to be held.

12. Meetings where serious disruption is anticipated:

The Dean may as necessary consult with the Proctors and the local police about forthcoming meetings and activities covered by this Code of Practice. In any case where serious disruption may be anticipated the Dean shall have power, having taken into consideration such advice from the police as may be available, to order the cancellation, postponement, or relocation of the meeting.

13. Expenses incurred in safeguarding academic activities and other meetings:

Where expenses are incurred (e.g. in the engagement of stewards or the employment of security staff) to safeguard an academic activity under Part 2 of this Code of Practice the cost therefore shall be borne by the College. In all other cases the cost shall be borne by the person or persons organising the meeting, save that the Dean may (if so advised) make representations to the Governing Body of the College suggesting that the cost shall be borne in whole or in part by the College and the Governing Body may decide the matter.

PART 5: College Premises made available for use by Outside Organisations

14. In the case where the College is proposing to grant permission to an outside organisation or group to hold meetings on its premises, the attention of such outside organisation or group will be drawn to the contents of this Code of Practice and permission to use the premises may be refused unless the outside organisation or group both undertakes to secure that the principles embodied in this Code will be upheld and satisfies the College authorities of its ability to discharge its obligations in regard to upholding freedom of speech.

PART 6: Miscellaneous

15. The Governing Body of the College is under a duty pursuant to Section 43(3) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to keep this Code of Practice up to date. No revision of the Code will, however, take effect until after due notice has been given.

16. Failure to comply with the provisions of this Code of Practice may render the offender liable to disciplinary proceedings.  Nothing in this Code of Practice affects the normal operation of the criminal law.

July 2002 (Subject to Revision)

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