Policy for Freedom of Expression

  1. The University reaffirms its commitment to the principle that the widest possible scope for freedom of expression is the foundation of an institution dedicated to vigorous inquiry, robust debate, and the continuous search for a proper balance between freedom and order. The University seeks to foster an environment in which persons who are on its campus legitimately may express their views as widely and as passionately as possible; at the same time, the University pledges to provide the greatest protection available for controversial, unpopular, dissident, or minority opinions. The University believes that censorship is always suspect, that intimidation is always repugnant, and that attempts to discourage constitutionally protected expression may be antithetical to the University's essential missions: to discover new knowledge and to educate.
  2. All persons on University-controlled premises are bound by the Rules and Regulations for Maintenance of Public Order, which deal in part with freedom of expression (adopted by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York June 18, 1969; amended 1969, 1980). Members of the University community should familiarize themselves with those rules and regulations. In addition, University faculty are protected by and bound by Article XI, Title I, Sec. 1 of the Policies of the Board of Trustees (adopted January 1987), entitled "Academic Freedom."
  3. University officials or other members of the University community in a position to review posters, publications, speakers, performances, or any other form of expression may establish legitimate time, place, and manner regulations for the maintenance of an orderly educational environment; however, they may not prohibit expression for any reason related to the content of the expression, except as permitted in those narrow areas of expression devoid of federal or state constitutional protection.
  4. Speakers invited to campus by University groups or individuals, and other speakers who may be legitimately present on campus, will be given the utmost protection to communicate their messages without disruptive harassment or interference. Opponents to those speakers enjoy the same protections for expressing their dissent.
  5. All members of the University community share the duty to support, protect, and extend the commitment to the principle of freedom of expression, and to discuss this commitment with groups or individuals who seek to take part in University life. While all persons may seek to discourage peacefully speech that may be unnecessarily offensive to particular individuals or groups, speech that may be antithetical to the University's values, those persons must support the legal right of free speech.
  6. Under Section VII. of its charge, the Committee on Academic Freedom, Freedom of Expression, and Community Responsibility (CAFFECoR) will serve as a hearing body available to those members of the University community who feel their freedom of expression has been unfairly suppressed. The Committee will report its findings to the President for further review and action.