Freedom of Expression & Academic Inquiry Policy

Expression of Individuals and Student Organizations

Members of the College community are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Members of the College community should make clear that in their public expressions or demonstrations, they speak for themselves, and not necessarily for the College.

Members of the College community should recognize that there is a critical distinction between freedom of expression and freedom from responsibility. The College is committed to maintaining an environment where intellectual exploration, critical thinking, freedom of inquiry, and creative expression are valued; the College is also committed to the maintenance of an environment in which civility, mutual respect, effective communication, and accountability are integral.

Expression that in its method or content violates College policy or federal, state, or local law is prohibited. Unreasonable interference with expression on College premises or at College events is prohibited.

Public Postings

Community members are permitted to exercise speech through postings in public spaces. Such postings are regulated by existing College policies (e.g. Forgery Policy, Reasonable Apprehension of Harm, etc.), as well as College procedures that govern on what surfaces and with what substances physical postings can be made.

Postings made in spaces attached to a specific person or group (i.e. residence hall room or office doors, personal blogs, and the like) may be removed at the discretion of the individual or group in question and must comply with any regulations imposed by the person or group. Postings made in spaces attached to specific people or groups must still comply with existing College policies and posting procedures. These policies apply both to postings made in a physical context (on walls, doors, etc.) and electronic mediums (posts on blogs, twitter feeds, Facebook, etc.).

Postings made in spaces that are not attached to a specific person or group (i.e. Residence Hall common spaces, academic buildings, and the like) are only permitted on approved surfaces (e.g. bulletin boards, which are labeled according to their purpose).

All postings in common spaces of this sort must be display either:

  • the date of the event being advertised or
  • the date two weeks from time of posting or
  • the posting’s expiration date.

Individuals responsible for postings must remove them after the latest of those dates has passed. All postings will be removed at the end of each semester.

Postings in common spaces of this sort must comply with all posting procedures relevant to the space in question (i.e. permitted size of postings, method of affixing posting, posting approval, etc.) -­  for information on posting in specific places,  please  consult:

  • Templeton Campus Center ~ Office of Student Activities
  • Dining Areas ~ Bon Appétit
  • Residence Halls ~ Office of Campus Living
  • Other Buildings ~ Office of Student Activities

Postings rendered using sidewalk chalk are only permitted on outdoor cement or asphalt sidewalks or roadways.

Issues of Anonymous Expression

Choosing to speak anonymously does not absolve one of responsibility for the content of that speech: anonymous postings, and the people responsible for them, are still obligated to adhere to existing College policies and posting procedures. Anonymous expressions of speech may be removed at any time by any person.

Hosting Public Events

Public performances and presentations must be hosted by recognized campus groups. These groups must follow College procedures for the scheduling of speakers and other programs and assume the responsibility that the event and its conduct are appropriate to the academic community. Hosting an event does not imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed by the hosting group or the College.

Student Demonstrations

Individual expression must always take place in an orderly fashion, without force or the threat of force, and in a manner that does not deliberately obstruct the orderly processes of the College. Freedom to dissent is exercised in the context of the law and of responsibility for our actions.

Student Media

Student communications media shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy. They shall have sufficient editorial freedom and financial autonomy to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and expression. This freedom entails adherence to the Canons of Responsible Journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and the avoidance of the techniques of harassment and innuendo.

Acceptance and publication of anonymous submissions by recognized campus media are at the discretion of the editor/director of each respective medium following the dictates of internal editorial policies and the Canons of Responsible Journalism.

Student communications media shall explicitly state that they do not speak officially for the College and that opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the College or the student body.

Editors and managers of student publications are protected from arbitrary removal because of disapproval of editorial policy or content. The Student Media Board is responsible for the appointment, evaluation, and removal of media heads in accordance with Student Media Board bylaws. This Board, consisting of media heads, advisors, and a chair, serves as a representative governing body for campus communications media.