Policies and Procedures: 13.10 Freedom of Speech and Expression / First Amendment [Interim Revised Policy]*

Relevant excerpt

Providing a forum for free speech or expression of ideas is a cherished and time-honored feature of university life.  Persons must be able to express their ideas in a lawful manner without suppressing the right of freedom of expression of others.

Freedom of speech and expression are required by, and legally supported and explained in the U.S. and State of Iowa constitutions, federal and State law, federal and state court decisions, and Board of Regents, State of Iowa (BOR) and university policies.  For example, these sources provide (in part) –

  • Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press [First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution]
  • Every person may speak, write, and publish (their) sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or the press. [Article I, Bill of Rights, Section 7 of the Iowa Constitution]
  • (Each BOR) institution must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression allowed under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. [Code of Iowa section 261H.2(1), and similarly, BOR policy manual section 4.2(B)(i)]

The university’s mission statement declares, “Within a challenging and supportive environment, the University of Northern Iowa engages students in high-quality and high-impact learning experiences and emphasizes excellence in teaching and scholarship.”  Protection and promotion of freedom of expression is crucial in implementing the UNI mission statement.  In addition, freedom of expression is an important aspect of each goal that supports the university’s mission and strategic plan, i.e., the unifying goal of “student success”, and the supporting goals of “diversity and inclusion”, “campus vitality”, and “community engagement”.

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