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The Russell Group universities that HAVE NOT pledged to stop the use of NDAs

Non-disclosure agreements are sometimes misused to silence victims of sexual violence, harassment or bullying


While many universities around the United Kingdom have been pledging to stop the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence victims of sexual violence or harassment, some haven’t yet followed suit.

NDAs are legal contracts that exist to help businesses protect confidential information. They are increasingly being used by institutions to stop individuals from sharing sensitive information.

Can’t Buy My Silence is a campaign fighting to stop the use of gagging orders to silence victims, and lists on its website the English universities that have pledged to no longer use NDAs.

The campaign has received widespread support from the National Union of Students (NUS) and the government. Universities minister Michelle Donelan told The Tab: “It is immoral that we have universities out there that have been using NDAs in these kind of circumstances around sexual harassment, sexual violence and bullying.

“It’s not right. It’s time that we called it out and as a sector come forward and say, no we’re not going to have this across the board in higher education.”

The Tab reached out to the Russell Group universities not listed on the Can’t Buy My Silence pledge list, including those from other parts of the UK, to find out their stances on the use of NDAs.

According to a spokesperson, the University of Oxford does not not use NDAs but “in exceptional circumstances, confidentiality agreements may be used once cases have been resolved.” Cardiff University and the University of Glasgow also told The Tab it doesn’t use NDAs.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “UofG doesn’t use confidentially agreements to prevent victims of any harassment speaking out and has been committed to Universities Scotland position since it was introduced in 2019.”

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh said: “The University does not use NDAs in cases involving allegations of sexual assault,  sexual harassment, rape, stalking and/or other forms of gender violence or sexual misconduct involving staff or students.

“The University is also a signatory to the Universities Scotland good practice statement on the use of confidentiality clauses. The statement confirms that the signatories do not use confidentiality clauses to prevent victims of harassment from speaking out.”

A spokesperson for the London School of Economics said: “We are studying the pledge and urgently working through the best way to ensure that LSE policies and practises align with its aims and do not prevent open discussion or the reporting of concerns around bullying, harassment and violence.”

Here’s a full breakdown of the Russell Group universities that have / have not pledged to not use NDAs to silence victims of sexual violence, harassment or bullying on campus:


Queen’s University Belfast, The University of Cambridge, King’s College London and Imperial College London did not respond to our requests for comment.

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