By President F. Javier Cevallos
With an increasingly contentious presidential election right around the corner, and with a number of troubling social issues taking place across the country, I thought it was appropriate to begin the semester by reminding everyone about Framingham State’s principles when it comes to free expression.
Framingham State University is, and has always been, committed to free and open inquiry in all matters. We have a responsibility to promote freedom of debate.
It’s very likely that over the course of the year there will be times when you will hear ideas and opinions from members of our community that you personally find offensive, immoral or ignorant. The University’s commitment to free speech means that we may not restrict – or allow others to restrict – people from expressing these ideas, even though they may not live up to our core values as an institution.
The response to speech or expression you find offensive should not be an attempt to restrict or obstruct it. Instead, you should use your freedom of expression to debate, criticize and contest those ideas. Our responsibility as a University is to facilitate this freedom of debate, not restrict it.
There are, of course, exceptions to this principle. Speech that is threatening, harassing or defamatory will not be tolerated. This exception also applies to hate speech toward particular individuals or groups based on their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or other traits.
I hope this message helps clarify the University’s position on freedom of expression. I anticipate many passionate debates will take place across campus this semester. Facilitating challenging and thought-provoking discussions is one of the primary functions of a University. It is my expectation that these discussions will be carried out free of interference and with respect for one another.