Speaker Policy

No. 7-4 
Rev.    Date 4-20-77


"The State Board of Regents has received requests from many sources that it give consideration to establishing policy and standards for speakers on the campuses of the members of our system. To attempt to do so presents many difficult problems, not the least of which is the fact that our system encompasses a variety of institutions with a variety of roles and variety of students and faculty in both background and interests. Yet equally applicable to all are the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and assembly and the basic principle of higher education of free inquiry. Since an academic community is part of our civilized society, rules protecting the rights of all members of the community and providing for an orderly exercise of those rights are appropriate for a college campus." 

"To preserve the individuality and traditions of each of the institutions in our system, we believe that detailed rules and criteria for the appearance and performance on campus of speakers, whether sponsored by the institution itself, by organizations of students or faculty, or otherwise related to the institution and reported to the board."

"However, to secure appropriate consideration of the critical factors involved, we believe that such rules as may be adopted by each institution should recognize the following principles:

A. All persons on campus, whether administrator, faculty, students, employees, or visitors, are subject to the law. Those who violate the law while on campus are subject to prosecution, as are any other citizens. It is the obligation of each institution in the system to review and establish its own standards and rules of conduct and method of enforcement of such rules, as well as state laws, within the guidelines herein established.

B. Establishment of fair and nondiscriminatory procedures for allocation of available facilities and to insure noninterference with regularly established academic and other institutional functions. However, such routine procedures should not be used as a device for censorship, but for orderly scheduling and adequate preparation.

C. Students and faculty should be free to organize and to participate in voluntary associations of their own choosing, subject to reasonable regulations to insure that such associations are neither discriminatory in their treatment of other members of the academic community nor operated in such a manner to substantially interfere with the rights of others. Such associations should be subject to rules applicable to all members of the institutional community forbidding acts made illegal by general law.

D. The law provides that all members of the institutional community are protected from censorship in their exercise of freedom of speech and assembly, and at the same time, protected from interference with a speaker's presentation of his/her ideas through acts of disruption. In addition to protection of their own freedom of speech, members of the academic community should be free to invite and hear any person of their own choosing, in accordance with the principles set forth in the preceding paragraphs and consequent institutional procedures. However, in selecting speakers sponsored by the institution itself, recognition should be given to the need for a fair representation of all views in the broad spectrum of thought in our pluralistic society."

"The Board of Regents reserves the right to require amendment of any rules adopted by member institutions of the state system of higher education which it feels do not conform with the foregoing general principles."