TU values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The free exchange
of ideas and information is central to higher education’s foremost obligation of fostering
both intellectual development and the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. With
certain exceptions, such as threats of physical violence and unlawful harassment,
free speech and expression is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
As a public institution, TU endeavors to protect each student’s free speech rights,
and may not limit speech or expression, however offensive or disagreeable, based solely
on the content or the views being expressed.
There is a very important distinction between “Speech or Expression” and “Behavior
or Conduct.” While the First Amendment protects most speech and expression, even hateful
or offensive speech and expression, discriminatory or harassing behavior and conduct
are NOT protected by the First Amendment.
TU is tasked with protecting every student’s freedom to speak and to hear all views.
Hateful or offensive speech that does not rise to the level of a true threat or unlawful
harassment cannot be banned or punished. Exposure to all perspectives, including those
that may be deemed disagreeable or even offensive, can be an essential part of the
educational experience and can help foster a greater understanding of how to respect
a person while communicating a differing opinion.
The protection afforded speech and expression by the First Amendment does not mean
that we as a university community encourage hate, condone harassment, or in any way
tolerate discriminatory behavior or conduct. TU also has support services available
for those affected by hateful or offensive, but protected, speech.
More information about these and related topics may be found in the following policies:
TU Code of Student Conduct; Chalking Policy (TU Policy 05-01.30); Policy Prohibiting
Discrimination (TU Policy 06-01.00); Policy on Threats and Violence (TU Policy 06-01.10);
Policy and Procedures for the Reporting of Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents (TU Policy
06-1.20); Policy on Sexual Misconduct (TU policy 06-01.60).
Lawful protests and counter-protests are permissible in accordance with TU policy,
and the university encourages all students participating in such expressive activity
to do so in a peaceful manner. Remember, while the expression of opinions and viewpoints
are protected by the First Amendment, engaging in illegal, harassing, violent or abusive
conduct and behavior is not and may result in legal and/or administrative action.
Additional information regarding student engagement in expressive activity on campus
can be found in the university’s Policy on Time, Place, and Manner of Expressive Activity (TU Policy: 06-04.11).
Yes. TU may establish reasonable and view point-neutral restrictions on the time,
place, and manner of speech and expression on its campus to address concerns such
as significant public safety interests as we have done in our Policy on Time, Place and Manner for Expressive Activities (TU Policy: 06-04.11) to ensure that expressive activities on campus do not unreasonably disrupt university
operations, violate the protected speech of others, put others in danger, or risk
damage to university property. This policy DOES NOT, however, restrict the content
or view point being expressed.
The university’s Policy on Time, Place and Manner for Expressive Activities is applicable
to expressive activities on campus (i.e., university property). Expressive activities
taking place on designated public space or on public rights-of-way (PDF), including those surrounding and bisecting campus such as the sidewalks along York
Road and Towsontown Boulevard, and along Cross Campus Drive and Osler Drive are not
covered under the policy.