Students have told how they fear having their work marked down if they do not follow the “anti-Brexit bias” of their lecturers and professors.
One undergraduate claimed to have been told explicitly not to put forward Eurosceptic views in essays “because you will irk the examiner”.
A further student said he felt he had to suit the tone and content of his work to the views of the person who would be marking it band he complained: “I shouldn’t feel as though I need to cloak my views in order to receive a grade reflective of the essay’s quality.”
Universities defended their commitment to free speech and said they would encourage students to report any concerns.
The Government is in the process of setting up the Office for Students to regulate English higher education.
From April it will have the power to strip universities of their right to award degrees and its remit includes monitoring Brexit attitudes.
Chairman Sir Michael Barber said: “The duty to protect freedom of speech also applies to academics, and diverse views should be encouraged.”
Yesterday Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “Universities must open minds not close them.
“That’s why I have asked for the OfS to ensure that all universities fulfil their duty to promote freedom of speech and the role it plays in generating rigorous debate that advances understanding of controversial subjects.”