Maya Thomas

student, Oriel College, Oxford

Maya is a second-year undergraduate at Oriel College, Oxford, reading for a BA in History. She is President of the Oxford University History Society and ambassador to the digital-archives company Gale Cengage,

After the History Society was criticised for inviting BBC Radio 4’s Jenni Murray, and protests at the Oxford Union aimed to “no-platform” Steve Bannon and Marion Maréchal, Maya grew disillusioned with the culture of censorship at Oxford and founded the Oxford Society for Free Discourse.

With this active community of students and academics, Maya has organised debates and demonstrations to promote the values of free and respectful debate in an increasingly polarised world. Prospective speakers for next term include Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship and Jacop Mchangama, executive director of the Justitia think-tank.

As a result of her work with OSFD, Maya has also become involved in the production of “Clear and Present Danger”, a podcast on the history of free speech.