Of equal importance to the University’s embrace of diversity is the University’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech. The University recognizes that respect for these rights requires it uphold a speaker’s freedom to express views that oppose our statement of community and that members of the campus community find offensive. However, protecting the rights of speakers to express such opinions does not mean that the University must remain silent in the face of speech that is hateful or biased. Quite the contrary; the University retains and will exercise its right to speak out in response to hate or bias acts that violate our sense of community by engaging in educational dialogues, conflict mediation, and campus programming. Successfully resolving the dynamic tension between free speech and the values that underlie our sense of community is an ever present challenge.
Within the University, we recognize that some hate/bias incidents are noncriminal activities committed against a person or property motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion. Derogatory language or writing directed against someone because of their identity, if not accompanied by threat of harm or delivered in a threatening manner, would be protected speech and not a hate crime. Such incidents, however, may constitute a hate/bias incident and can be reported using these procedures.