Campus Free Speech


Scope:  Who is Covered by this Policy?

Undergraduate and Graduate Students and Faculty


Policy

Principles of Campus Free Speech

In accordance with the public policy and the laws of the state of Ohio, the University affirms the following principles:

  1. Students have a fundamental constitutional right to free speech.
  2. The University is committed to giving students broad latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue, subject to Ohio Revised Code 3345.0215(E).
  3. The University is committed to maintaining a campus as a marketplace of ideas for all students and all faculty in which the free exchange of ideas is not to be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the institution's community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed.
  4. It is for the University's individual students and faculty to make judgments about ideas for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress free speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.
  5. It is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from free speech, including ideas and opinions they find offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed.
  6. Although the University greatly values civility and mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect shall never be used as a justification for closing off the discussion of ideas, however offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed those ideas may be to some students or faculty.
  7. Although all students and all faculty are free to state their own views about and contest the views expressed on campus, and to state their own views about and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on the campus of a state institution of higher education, they may not substantially obstruct or otherwise substantially interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, the University has a responsibility to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation and protect that freedom.
  8. The University shall be committed to providing an atmosphere that is most conducive to speculation, experimentation, and creation by all students and all faculty, who shall always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, and to gain new understanding.
  9. The primary responsibility of faculty is to engage an honest, courageous, and persistent effort to search out and communicate the truth that lies in the areas of their competence.

Nothing contained in this Policy shall be construed as prohibiting the University from imposing measures that do not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Sections 3 and 11 of the Ohio Constitution such as:

  1. Constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions;
  2. Reasonable and viewpoint-neutral restrictions in nonpublic forums;
  3. Restricting the use of the University’s property to protect the free speech rights of students and teachers and preserve the use of the property for the advancement of the University’s mission;
  4. Prohibiting or limiting speech, expression, or assemblies that are not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Sections 3 and 11 of the Ohio Constitution;
  5. Content restrictions on speech that are reasonably related to a legitimate pedagogical purpose, such as classroom rules enacted by teachers.

Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to grant students the right to disrupt previously scheduled or reserved activities occurring in a traditional public forum.

Nothing in this Policy shall be interpreted as restricting or impairing the University’s obligations under federal law including, but not limited to, Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1962, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 as addressed through its non-discrimination and Title IX policies.

Complaints

Further, the University is creating a process under which a student, student group, or faculty member may submit a complaint about an alleged violation by an employee of the University for violations of the above policy, including any violation which results in a penalty imposed on a student’s grade for an assignment or coursework that is unrelated to ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and is instead based on the contents of student’s free speech.

A complaint can be submitted through Ethicspoint

Under the process, which shall comply with standards adopted by the Ohio Chancellor of Higher Education, the University will investigate the alleged violation and conduct a fair and impartial hearing regarding the alleged violation. If the hearing determines the state institution of higher education’s policy was violated, the University shall determine a resolution to address the violation and prevent any further violation of the University policy.


Related Form(s)

Not Applicable.


Additional Resources and Procedures

Not Applicable.


FAQ

Not Applicable.


Policy Administration

Next Review Date

7/1/2025

Responsible Officer

General Counsel

Legal Authority

O.R.C. 3345.0215

Compliance Policy

No

Revision History

 New August 2022

Reference ID

N/A

Reviewing Bodies

General Counsel