University of Washington: Restrictions on Land Acknowledgement Statements on Faculty Syllabi

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Washington

In December 2021, Professor Stuart Reges at the University of Washington Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science criticized the university’s land acknowledgment statement in an email to faculty, and included a modified statement he added to his syllabus. The director of the Allen School instructed Reges to remove the “inappropriate” and “offensive” statement from his syllabus, and required all Allen School faculty to use UW’s statement or no land acknowledgment at all. FIRE wrote to UW on January 11, 2022, explaining that the First Amendment prohibits UW from imposing viewpoint-based rules on syllabus content and calling on the university to ensure that faculty, if they choose to address land acknowledgments in their syllabi, can use the university’s statement or craft their own.