Two Free Speech Policies Revised and Take Effect January 1
With input from the campus community, Syracuse University revised two of the three University policies governing speech and expression, consistent with recommendations from the Working Group on Free Speech. Following the open comment period in November, the Anti-Harassment Policy and the IT Resources Acceptable Use Policy were vetted by the University’s Policy Advisory Committee and will take effect January 1, 2017. After reviewing the comments received, Chancellor Kent Syverud has decided to ask the Senate Agenda Committee to charge appropriate Senate committees to review two suggestions for further refinements to these policies, including the following:
- The “Stop-Bias” website and anonymous complaints, and
- More detailed guidance on the application of the “reasonable person” standard.
The third proposed policy, the Campus Posting Policy, received the most feedback. Members of the campus community asked that it be shared with the University Senate for clarification. After conferring with the Senate Agenda Committee, Chancellor Syverud asked that the Campus Posting Policy be reviewed by the Senate Committees for Student Life and Administrative Operation and to have a final version by March 2017.
The three policies are designed to accomplish the following:
- adopt a definition of harassment that carefully balances the interests of free speech and expression and the need to provide a safe and respectful campus environment;
- clarify the limited circumstances in which the University may access individual user data on its computer network;
- clarify the rules regarding proper transmission of copyrighted data; and
- consolidate three existing campus posting policies to balance campus infrastructure and enhancements with the free exchange of ideas.
As outlined in Chancellor Syverud’s September 6 message to the campus community, these policies are meant to be part of a larger, ongoing conversation about free and open dialogue and debate at Syracuse University. As a starting point, the policies reaffirm the University’s commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression, balanced against the need to foster an environment free from hostile or unlawful behavior.
Questions or feedback on existing University policies or how to develop a new policy can be directed to Associate General Counsel Abby Perer at 315.443.8979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.