First Amendment & Harassment

August 28, 2013

The concepts of academic freedom and an open exchange of ideas are essential
to the mission of any educational institution. Binghamton University
is committed to these ideals, and as a public institution is legally obligated to
protect its members’ First Amendment right of freedom of expression. Respect for this right requires that members of the University tolerate the
expression of views that are contrary to their own, and recognize that the expression
of ideas that are intolerant, bigoted or deeply offensive are entitled to
First Amendment protection. Equally important, however, is the understanding
that free expression carries with it the responsibility of civility and respect for
others. The University views conduct intended to disparage or demean others
as contrary to the pursuit of knowledge and rational discourse.
So-called “speech codes” have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts.
Therefore, while Binghamton University does not condone incivility within
the campus community, it has not adopted a policy to prohibit offensive speech.
Moreover, Binghamton has a proud history of inviting and encouraging the
expression of diverse views.