Free speech compliance issues at Sussex

AFFS have been contacted by someone at Sussex University who is concerned both about a recent decision to put the Head of its EDI Unit in charge of freedom of speech and about specific aspects of its new Freedom of Speech Code.

It is symptomatic of the atmosphere at our universities that the person who raised the issues with us, wishes to remain anonymous. AFFS is increasingly worried by the need for self-censorship on the part of those concerned about our universities’ failure to nurture and protect free speech culture on campuses.  

AFFS is troubled by the matters raised with this, not least because of what happened to the former Sussex Professor, Kathleen Stock. Sussex is not the only institution where the management’s response to renewed pressure to comply with existing and future free speech obligations has been to seek to treat them as a subordinate aspect of their EDI campaigns.

We have written to Sussex’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sasha Roseneil, asking her to appoint someone independent of its EDI unit to safeguard free speech rights and to revise its Freedom of Speech Code so that it accurately reflects the law.      

See our letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Sussex here.

We’ll let you know what reply we receive. In the meantime:

What you can do:

  • Share this news with your fellow Sussex graduates and suggest they join AFFS – it is quick and free, and the more members we have, the more pressure we can apply to our universities.
  • We urge Sussex alumni to write to the Vice-Chancellor (copying in the other officers identified below).
  • Please remember: express yourself moderately, and keep to the facts. Alumni care hugely about free speech, but we are not extremists.

Their emails (from public sources):

Professor Sasha Roseneil, Vice-Chancellor (

Professor David Ruebain, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Culture, Equality and Inclusion (

Geraldine Ismail, Interim Head of Legsal Services (

Nicola Enston, Senior Legal Counsel (

Professor Kelly Coate, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education