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Freedom of Expression Committee

Freedom of Expression Committee

Freedom of Expression Committee

What We Do

In accordance with our three charges, the committee will do the following:

  • Create programming and educational resources
    The Committee shall work proactively with entities on campus such as Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence, Faculty Senate, and others invested in freedom of expression issues to create dialogues around the concept of freedom of expression, its relationship to other central DU values, and about University policy. The Committee shall also work with experts on and off campus to create educational materials about the responsible practice of free expression on our campus.
  • Help to plan events and to reflect upon them
    As members of the campus community plan debates, demonstrations, visits from potentially controversial speakers, and other events wherein issues of freedom of expression may arise, the Committee will advise on ways to design events so as to respect the value of free expression and of inclusion. The Committee shall also serve as a response team, committed to helping address issues of free expression in real time.
  • Review and report
    The Committee shall review submitted requests regarding incidents where freedom of expression has allegedly been unjustifiably curtailed or that expression has been practiced in ways that diminish or conflict with other DU values. When appropriate, it shall issue advisory reports on these incidents to the campus bodies charged with dealing with them.

      Nothing on this website supersedes, substitutes for, or eliminates, policies and procedures in the University's Policies and Procedures Relating to Faculty Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (the APT document), the Office of Equal Opportunity & Office of Title IX procedures, the Employee Grievance Policy, or Student Conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is FOE's presence at events? How do we decide which ones we go to and who to send? What function does the FOE representative serve?

Each academic year, FOE members will attend various events around campus to learn about the particularities of the DU Freedom of Expression ecosystem and learn more about Freedom of Expression in practice on our campus. A member of the Freedom of Expression committee will be present as an unbiased observer at any event that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • An event that has been identified by a internal department as being contentious or possibly limiting to free expression.
  • An event that the committee has been requested to attend.
  • An event that is already causing tension or begging the question of censorship of or misuse of free expression.
  • Any event that has the potential to violate DU's code of conduct.
  • Any events planned as a response or counter to a contentious event on campus.
  • Any events surrounding the topic of freedom of expression.

You'll know it is a FOE member because of the badge they wear. Any FOE member in attendance NOT wearing a badge, is there as a private citizen.

Following an event, FOE members in attendance will report back to the committee and address any concerns about the nature of the event. In accordance with our third charge, we would provide assistance to the University in assessing issues of freedom of expression.

Our goal in attending events is to learn more about the campus culture surrounding freedom for expression and to grow as a resource and advisory committee.

What is the criteria for responding to events? (I.e. what must happen for an event to warrant our response).

There are multiple ways that FOE may respond to events, these include direct email response to individual, meeting with individuals regarding an issue, public statements issued to the University as a whole, or events hosted by FOE such as open forums or group discussions. Much like choosing the events we will attend; the committee will issue a response under the following criteria:

  • If a DU department, organization, or individual has specifically requested a response.
  • If an event is deemed particularly inflammatory or in violation of DU's values.  See DU's Honor Code
  • If there is sufficient evidence that an individual or group's right to freedom of speech is being limited.

FOE does not respond to concerns regarding expression in the classroom or communication between faculty and students regarding classroom content or conduct, unless it becomes a public platform (i.e. the instructor has invited non-enrolled attendees). We do not monitor classroom activity, as it is protected by academic freedom provisions. See section 1.1, page 5 of the Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure.

What can and will we do as a committee and how does that fit into our 3 charges?

The FOE committee does not restrict or prohibit events from taking place but rather exists as an educational and advisory entity and will work in both proactive and reactive manners to address issues of freedom of expression on DU's campus. In accordance with our first and second charges, we will strive to create programs and events that allow for open dialogues and respectful discourse, communicate with the campus community regarding issues surrounding freedom of expression, as well as providing assistance to the University in addressing issues that arise.

Although FOE cannot and will not prohibit events from taking place, if the committee feels an event is violating freedom of speech, we will advise the appropriate University officials accordingly.