Students’ Union UCL facilitates thousands of external speakers every year and has policies and procedures in place to help protect freedom of speech within the law. The Union is committed to empower and support our clubs and societies to organise invitations for a variety of speakers that stimulate debate and further non-academic development for the benefit of students. 

External speakers are defined as any non-UCL staff or students invited to speak on campus or at an online event. Our External Speakers Process aims to create a framework to empower students to create exciting, challenging and varied opportunities for debate, discussion and dialogue with the support and guidance of Union staff. For full details, please have a look at our External Speaker Information and Process.

Requesting an External Speaker 

In order to request an external speaker, fill in the External Speaker Request Form.

Remember that you must seek approval for ALL external speakers from the Union and you may not publicise your event or your speaker until they have been approved. 

If your submission is not filled in correctly, we may need to reject your form. In this case, you will need to resubmit your webform. You need to provide us 10 working days to carry out our approval procedure from the date of submission of a completed webform. This excludes requests submitted via the Extraordinary External Speaker Approval Procedure (see below). Submitting an incorrectly filled webform will cause the postponement of your event until it can be processed and approved.

In most cases we aim to process these forms in 5 working days, but it can take longer in certain circumstances including exceptionally busy periods, university holidays and if the speaker requires further scrutiny by the Union and/or UCL.

Extraordinary External Speaker Approval Procedure

Students’ Union UCL wants its members to be able to hear about and debate relevant and topical major national and international events. We are aware that the 10 day processing time for this procedure does not easily allow Clubs and Societies, and Union Officers, to set up and respond with certain events in a timely fashion. Therefore, if you require an external speaker to attend an event to highlight a significant local, national or international event, then the Union will do what we can to assist.

If your event is responding to a proven local, national or international event or crisis then please email us the details of your request attaching the following form, and mark it as a ‘Priority’ and send directly to the Student Activities Team ([email protected]), CC’ing the Director of Student Experience ([email protected]) and the Activities and Engagement Officer ([email protected]). Providing relevant staff are on site and available to assist then we will do all we can to help facilitate your event.

Please note you should not advertise your event until we have approved the external speaker.

Please also note Clubs and Societies, and Officers, seeking to circumvent the standard external speaker procedure using this method without due reason will be assessed for disciplinary action.

Briefing for External Speakers

The ‘Briefing for External Speakers’ text provided in this document must be circulated to all speakers in advance of submission of the form.

You then need to confirm with your speaker in writing that they agree to comply with Students' Union UCL policy while being hosted at one of our events, and note this on the external speaker approval form.

Freedom of Speech Notice

Please see below our Freedom of Speech Notice. It is aimed at increasing awareness of our policy amongst all attendees at your event, including those not classified as speakers.

“Students’ Union UCL is committed to providing a forum that facilitates Freedom of Speech while providing a safe space for our members and the public. We support events that contribute to the non-academic development or students while requesting that all speakers and attendees are respectful of the beliefs and opinions of others, as well as the law that protect individuals and groups from intimidation, discrimination and harassment. By attending a Union event you are agreeing to uphold our policies regarding Freedom of Speech. Any breach of the Union Policies and procedures may result in your event and speech being curtailed and referred as appropriate for further action to be taken.”

With that in mind, you must copy and paste this rider on to the bottom of emails/messages you send out inviting people to your event, for example on your club or society mailing list, as well as the event pages you set up on the internet, for example on Facebook. It is essential that this is circulated because due to the nature of some events, even those that are not classified as speakers will be voicing their opinions and contributing to discussions.

If you have any questions about the External Speaker Process please contact Carl, Director of Student Experience on [email protected]

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