The UN have described the policy as ‘racist legislation’ used to ‘institutionalise Islamophobia’Louis Ashworth

The Cambridge Student Union (SU) has released a ‘Preventing Prevent’ Toolkit as part of the Preventing Prevent at Cambridge University campaign.

This forms part of the SU’s efforts to promote the boycotting of Prevent legislation to students.

The toolkit contains several documents including a briefing, information on rights, further reading, a mock motion, and a Preventing Prevent Pledge, for students, JCRs and MCRs.

A ‘Preventing Prevent Pledge’ is also included, which JCRs and MCRs are urged to sign to signify their support for the boycott of the Prevent legislation and the government review.

In a press release, the creators of the toolkit expressed that the documents are intended “for students to educate themselves about the dangerous and discriminatory effects of the policy, as well as tools to practically oppose the policy locally.”

The Prevent duty was brought in for Higher Education institutions as part of the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act in response to potential terror threats to Britain. It dictates that they must not platform speakers who would encourage terrorism.

Under the legislation, institutions such as universities should also offer training for staff to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas which risk drawing people into terrorism.”

“The decision to launch this toolkit came out of discussions we had with students”, said SU Undergraduate President Ben Margolis, and BME Officer Howard Chae.


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“We hope the toolkit will equip student campaigners with the resources they need to both mobilise within their colleges and link up college-level activities to create pressure on the University to take a more active stance against Prevent.”

The SU also noted the stance of organisations such as Amnesty International and the UN, who are among those that have branded Prevent “a racist legislation which uses flawed research to institutionalise Islamophobia and expand government surveillance”.

The briefing element of the toolkit particularly criticises the sense of surveillance and monitoring of students in the form of Accountability and Data Returns which the University and Colleges must submit to the Office for Students (OfS).

Following criticism of the original Prevent duty, the government began an independent review into the Prevent strategy in 2019. This review also faced criticism from the toolkit's authors, who noted its prolonged timeline and the allegations of Islamophobia against William Shawcross, the chair of the review.

The University is currently employing a “light touch” approach to the duty, attempting to fulfil its legal duty while maintaining the institution’s commitment to freedom of speech.

In 2016, several Cambridge academics expressed concerns about the legislation during a discussion at Senate House, with King's College fellow Surabhi Ranganathan describing the legislation as “extraordinarily intrusive and extraordinarily vague” at the time.