code of community responsibility

Speech on Campus

Academic Freedom/Freedom of Speech

Colby-Sawyer College has long recognized that academic freedom is absolutely necessary in fostering an atmosphere of educational excellence. If the quest for truth is not free, then both the quest and the truth are seriously endangered.

With regard to freedom of speech, every student, faculty, and staff member of Colby-Sawyer College enjoys the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution of the United States and the privileges traditionally accorded all members of the academic community, both in the classroom and outside of it. In its policy governing the appearance of outside speakers on campus, Colby-Sawyer College expects that such speakers are willing to engage themselves in a rational dialogue with faculty and students, in a give and take of free discussion.

Free Speech Considerations for Guest Speakers on Campus

The sole purpose of inviting a speaker is to contribute to the aims of the college as a center of free inquiry and sound learning. To assure that a speaker is the kind of person whose method of presentation is appropriate to the atmosphere of Colby-Sawyer College, the following procedures must be followed:

  • Only organizations officially recognized by the college may invite a speaker to the campus.

  • Before inviting a speaker, student groups must obtain the approval of the director of Campus Activities.

Civil Discourse and Disagreement

The college administration, therefore, sets forth the college position as follows:

  • The college, out of simple courtesy, wishes to protect its guests from insults and indignities.

  • The college seeks to preserve a forum open to all.

  • The college seeks to insure that invited guests of the college, or of groups within the college, will be treated with courtesy and respect, and accorded the dignity due to them as human beings, no matter how strongly persons in their audience might disagree with their ideas.

  • The college wishes to make it clear that those who are not members of the college community and who seek to intervene or agitate on college property will be escorted from campus and may be charged with trespassing.

  • Further, in order to preserve an orderly atmosphere and avoid possible embarrassment to invited guests, the college reserves the right to prohibit two speakers representing opposing viewpoints on the same date, unless the events have been appropriately arranged in advance and unless both speakers have full prior knowledge and acceptance of the circumstances of their invitation.

  • The college neither has, nor desires, authority to prohibit its students from participating as individuals in picket lines or peaceful and lawful demonstrations off campus on behalf of causes with which they are “in sympathy” as long as this behavior does not interfere with the mission of the college or of the free speech of other campus community members.

  • Any expressions of dissent that materially interfere with the speaker's ability to proceed is a violation of the college's “Disruption” policy (see Disorderly Conduct/Disruption for more information).

Policy revised July 2013 by the associate dean of students and director of citizenship education.

  • Free and honest discourse is fundamental to academic institutions in general and ours in particular. How else can we know what we do not know or what we do not believe if we do not listen to opposing views?

  • Within culturally acceptable norms, students, faculty and staff should be free to engage in disagreements and discourse as long as it does not interfere with the academic mission of the college or the rights of others.

  • Excellence
  • Interconnectedness
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship