‘Violence is against all we stand for’
KING’S IS opposed to all forms of racism, including antisemitism, and to any form of disruptive action that might interfere with the university’s core purpose to promote scholarship and learning.
Universities play a vital role in society as safe environments where uncensored debate can and must take place without fear of intimidation, not least as a way of encouraging students to learn to form their own opinions.
Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths and we are absolutely committed to respect for all of our staff and students and to peaceful and respectful dialogue where people have conflicting views.
There is no excuse for the reported behaviour of a vocal minority of protesters last week and I have appointed our head of administration and college secretary to conduct an urgent investigation.
He will establish an accurate record of what happened, whether King’s students alone or individuals external to university were involved, and what actions might need to be taken as a consequence in line with our regulations.
We will also examine the arrangements put in place to organise and manage the event and whether any improvements to our policies may be needed. The findings will be published in early February.
Intimidating behaviour is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that we stand for at King’s. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest. The safety of our students, staff and the general public is paramount to us and we are committed to acting as a responsible organisation.
Our 260 student societies and activity groups hold hundreds of events a year across our five central London campuses, many of which involve external speakers and pass without incident. However, we are not complacent and continue to review our processes.
While the investigation is underway I have reminded all of our students to be respectful of their peers’ rights to hold different opinions from their own and to debate these in a peaceful and constructive way. Professor Ed Byrne is president and principal of King’s College London