Indiana University, along with its highest leaders, are committed to ensuring the principles of free speech are upheld on all campuses.
Leadership comments on free speech
IU President Michael A. McRobbie statement on free speech
July 18, 2018
As Indiana University continues to engage locally, nationally and internationally, we welcome and value the diverse population of students, faculty and staff who join our community to live and work on our campuses across the state. The rich abundance of cultures, traditions, perspectives and beliefs contributed by our diverse university community is a source of strength and pride.
In Indiana University's nearly 200 years of fulfilling our mission of excellence in education, our university has served as a place for members of its community to better understand the ideas, assertions, arguments, customs, traditions and beliefs of others.
We are also an institution committed to fostering civil discourse and creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds. As a public institution of higher education, we are bound by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and our university's unwavering mission to provide an excellent education and remain committed to academic freedom.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie welcome message to students
August 16, 2017
As members of the IU community, you have the opportunity to contribute in a myriad of ways to a rich, inquiring, productive and public-spirited civil society that binds all of us together as one. You are part of an increasingly diverse and interconnected world and a member of one of the nation’s most international universities. This is a place where you can seek to better understand the ideas, assertions, arguments, customs, traditions and beliefs of others with whom you have chosen to share this special time in your lives. And as an IU student, you will be asked to contribute to strengthening a culture of caring and human dignity on all of our campuses, one that strongly encourages tolerance, inclusion, civil discourse and respect for others.
IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel statement on the principles of free speech on the IU Bloomington campus
September 6, 2017
In short, it will be a challenging year for our community’s commitment to values of equality, nondiscrimination, critical thinking, compassion, and freedom of expression. Faculty, staff, and students hold strong views that span a range of positions about many of the issues facing our country, and we expect robust and civil conversations and disagreements to occur on campus. Our faculty and student groups also traditionally invite a variety of speakers to campus, and some will certainly present views that will provoke disagreement, perhaps strong disagreement, and even protest.
As we think through these challenges, I write to remind our community that as a public institution, Indiana University is bound by the Constitution’s First Amendment. The First Amendment has, at its core, a deep distrust of the power of any government to restrain speech or to judge ideas dangerous, and a trust in the power of our citizens to assure that truth displaces falsity in a world of open exchange. As a country, the United States has struck a different balance on issues surrounding speech than many other countries, and sometimes First Amendment values feel strongly in tension with values of equality and inclusion, or nondiscrimination principles. As a campus, we will work this semester to open opportunities to explore these constitutional tensions and choices even as we assure that our campus remains a place that protects the expression of diverse and strongly held opinions.
Reaffirming IUPUI's commitment to a safe, welcoming, and civil campus
I am writing to reiterate IUPUI's commitment to create a safe and welcoming campus for all.
Among our core values at IUPUI is our commitment to provide opportunities both in and outside of traditional classrooms for the free expression and exchange of ideas, including those we may not condone. However, that free expression does not include disruptive behavior, intimidation, harassment, or other harmful or threatening actions based on age, color, disability, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
Whether in a classroom or outside of class, open dialogue remains central to academic freedom and our educational mission, but such dialogue must rest on a foundation of mutual respect and civility.
The university abhors all forms of racism, bigotry, and discrimination, including antisemitism as well as other forms of discrimination based on religious beliefs or political views. We must collectively work to ensure that every member of IUPUI's faculty, staff, and student body feels safe and supported.
AAU Presidents and Chancellors Reaffirm Commitment to Free Speech on Campus
April 18, 2018
At their spring 2018 meeting, the Presidents and Chancellors of the Association of American Universities member universities strongly endorsed the following statement:
The free and open exchange of ideas and information is fundamental to the educational mission of AAU universities. The robust discussions and debates that occur at research universities have been central to the advancement of democracy, the creation of new knowledge, the fostering of educational excellence, and the promotion of social progress. As heads of these institutions we are unequivocally committed to preserving and honoring this proud heritage.
While we may deem some speech to be odious, disgraceful, and antithetical to our values, our campuses are and should remain places where ideas can be expressed free of disruption, intimidation, and violence.
We are committed to preparing our students, faculty, and staff to engage in thoughtful, non-disruptive debate. Our collective responsibility to educate our campus communities on their rights and responsibilities is of the utmost importance and one we embrace. While protecting the expression of ideas, we will also take all steps necessary to promote an inclusive and non-discriminatory learning environment, and protect our communities from those who seek to promote conflict rather than conversation, debate, and advocacy.
We will continue to prepare students, faculty, and staff to engage in frank, open, and often challenging discussions. Our universities will also work to ensure that campus policies on speech, events, dissent, and other protected activities are publicly and conveniently available. We believe these actions are critical for our institutions to remain at the forefront of ensuring that substantive and non-violent speech is fully protected and welcomed in our society.
In restating these values, we aspire to be a model for society of how a free and democratic people should work through disagreements and arrive at a deeper understanding of important issues and of each other.