Anschutz campus birds-eye view
One of the great contributions CU Anschutz makes to society is the creation of new knowledge and new solutions to improve human health. To fulfill that critical mission, we must be an inclusive and respectful community in which each of us feels empowered to speak freely about our ideas and perspectives. This is crucial to the open, innovative environment that enables our campus to thrive. - Donald Elliman, Jr., CU Anschutz Chancellor

Freedom of Expression

The CU Anschutz Medical Campus is committed to being a place where free speech and academic freedom are valued, supported and protected, within a culture of civility and respect. In accordance with CU Regent law and policies, revised in September 2018, we distinguish between academic freedom, which happens in classrooms and research labs, and freedom of expression, which happens on campus and in a person’s private life. This website outlines our steadfast commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom and highlights relevant policies and programs.

History

Free Speech at CU Anschutz

 

As a campus of the University of Colorado, CU Anschutz advances the health and well-being of the people of Colorado and the world through its pioneering advances in education, research and health care delivery.

As part of engaging a well-trained professional citizenry, CU Anschutz hosts speakers who represent differing views. CU Anschutz will continue to ensure that the primacy of academic freedom and freedom of expression are upheld and the critical nature of civil discourse remains a part of this community.

 

For Students

A group of students talking

Freedom of expression plays a valuable role in the student experience at CU Anschutz. Universities provide unique opportunities for you to hear a variety of viewpoints, express your own views, debate issues, get involved and make change. An active, vocal and engaged student body is a keystone of university life. CU Anschutz students enjoy academic freedom (the ability to raise questions and challenge views in the classroom) and freedom of expression (both on campus and in their private life), as protected by the First Amendment and Colorado’s constitution. Below are resources for getting involved on campus, as well as exercising your freedom of speech:

Frequently Asked Questions

Certain controversial speakers are known to identify and insult specific individuals, or entire groups of people, based on their protected characteristics, such as national origin or gender. Is this grounds for canceling the event?

Nov 29, 2018, 12:45 PM
Question : Certain controversial speakers are known to identify and insult specific individuals, or entire groups of people, based on their protected characteristics, such as national origin or gender. Is this grounds for canceling the event?

No. The First Amendment protects a speaker’s viewpoints regarding these matters. Of course, other legal principles may apply to this type of speech. For example, if the speech is directed at an individual and meets the legal definition of defamation, then such speech may not be protected. In addition, the university has robust non-discrimination and harassment policies, which may be implicated if speech is directed towards a particular person, rather than a group as a whole.

Some speech that many consider offensive does not constitute discrimination or harassment. To rise to the level of being discriminatory or harassing, the speech must be sufficiently severe and pervasive that it denies a person equal access to an equal educational or employment opportunity. At CU Anschutz, we will make efforts to promote a culture of respect and civility, as we recognize that universities best function when the dialogue advances our academic purposes. However, our policies defining discrimination and harassment must also recognize the constitutional protections for expressive activities.

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