F&M Statement on Freedom of Expression

Relevant excerpt

Because Franklin & Marshall College is committed to the ideal of free and open inquiry in all matters, it extends to all members of the College community the broadest possible latitude to express themselves freely and to challenge the views of others.  The College vigorously values the creation and maintenance of a climate in which all members of the College community are welcomed and are encouraged to participate in the free expression of ideas.  Inasmuch as the spark of truth often comes forth only after the clash of differing opinions, we view freedom of expression as highly valuable because it encourages multiple opinions, allows them to coalesce and/or clash, and opens them to the community’s reflections.

Indeed, fostering the capacity of the College community to engage in critical discourse and deliberation in an effective, responsible and respectful manner is an essential part of the College’s educational mission.  Of course, the ideas of different members of the College community will often and quite naturally conflict.  But it is not the proper role of the College to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, uncivil or even deeply offensive.  Rather, members of the College community should be encouraged to act according to the principle that the best response to ideas that they find offensive is speech, not censorship. This approach encourages members of the College community to express their views freely, and freely to take issue with views with which they disagree.

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