The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges has issued a new white paper with guidelines to help leaders with the difficult issues of free speech and expression.
With protests and other free speech issues expected to take center stage on many campuses this fall, AGB brought together 25 experts including higher education leaders and legal scholars this summer, creating the paper. It intends the paper as a way to help universities protect free speech rights and academic freedom while still weighing safety issues.
It includes six guidelines:
- Board members should be well informed about the rights established by the First Amendment, and its principles, and how they apply to the campus’s commitment to freedom of speech.
- Governing boards should understand and recognize the alignment between freedom of speech and academic freedom.
- Governing boards should ensure that policies that clarify campus freedom of speech rights are reflective of institutional mission and values.
- Board discussion and debate should model civil and open dialogue.
- Board members should encourage presidents to initiate communication with and be available to those students who want to be heard by institutional leaders about campus culture and issues related to freedom of speech.
- Governing boards should make clear their support of presidents in the implementation of campus freedom of speech policies.