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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Statement?

The recommended Statement on Free Expression — informed by our University mission and shared values — outlines guiding principles and codifies our existing practices regarding the protection and promotion of free expression, free inquiry, and intellectual engagement on campus.

Why does the University need a Statement on Free Expression?

The Statement is intended to provide a set of guiding principles to ground the University in a shared understanding of free expression, protected speech and counter-speech, individual and University rights, and the limits of free expression.

Who wrote the Statement?

The recommended Statement was drafted by the Task Force on Free Expression during the Fall 2019 semester, and delivered to the President and Provost in December 2019.

How were Task Force members selected?

Task Force members were selected by the President, in consultation with leaders of the Faculty Senate. Academic expertise, knowledge of the University as an institution and as a community, and departmental diversity were considered in making selections.

Was input from the campus community considered during the Statement drafting process?

Yes. Leaders in the Faculty Senate, University Staff Advisory Council, Westhampton College Government Association, Richmond College Student Government Association, and the Law School’s Federalist Society and American Constitution Society selected their own representatives to review the draft statement, meet with the Task Force, and provide feedback. These conversations informed the recommended Statement.

How will the University solicit additional feedback on the recommended Statement?

Feedback will be solicited in person via a series of meetings with the President and Provost during the fall 2020 semester, as well as electronically via this form. The President and Provost will also consult with the Board of Trustees, Dean’s Council, and President’s Cabinet.

In advance of fall semester discussions, students, faculty, and staff may submit their comments and feedback here.

What is the timeline for the Statement's review?

President Crutcher and Provost Legro will consult with representative groups across campus during the fall semester to discuss the recommended Statement and will consider comments and suggestions submitted via the online form. They expect to finalize the Statement before the end of the fall semester.

Did the Task Force consider existing University policies in drafting the recommended Statement?

Yes. In studying University history concerning free expression and academic freedom, the Task Force considered existing University policies that have, or could have, connections to freedom of expression.