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Report by Working Group on Free Speech Shared with Campus Community
The final report of the Working Group on Free Speech has been sent to the University Senate and to the Student Association (SA), the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and the Student Bar Association (SBA). Chancellor Kent Syverud announced the creation of the working group in the Spring 2015 semester in response to resolutions passed last fall by the three student government groups.
In a letter to the University Senate, SA, GSO and SBA, the Chancellor asked the groups to share the full report with the members of their organizations. The Chancellor also asked that they take steps to begin a “significant, substantive and honest debate among the campus community about the recommendations in the report.”
The Chancellor’s letter along with the full report can be accessed and read here.
The initial resolutions passed in the fall of 2014 by the SA, the GSO and the SBA indicated that certain language in the University’s current Computing and Electronic Communications Policy “is vague, overly broad and subjective, which restricts expression and stifles academic freedom by prohibiting the discussion of controversial yet important political, social and economic issues that form the basis of legitimate academic debate.”
The Working Group was charged with assessing the students’ concerns and preparing a report on their findings. David Rubin, professor of communications and dean emeritus of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, chaired the Working Group. Members included two students appointed by the SA; two appointed by the GSO; and one faculty and one staff member, both appointed by the University Senate.
In forwarding the final report to the Senate and student groups, Chancellor Syverud asked each of the groups to work in concert with Dean Rubin and members of the Working Group to set up campus forums to share their perspectives and invite input from the campus community. A survey, aimed at soliciting additional feedback from the campus community, will also be distributed in the coming months. Following the feedback period, the Chancellor has asked that the four groups then work together to produce one unified report representing their perspectives, viewpoints and recommendations for action.
In order to leave appropriate time for discussion and debate, he asks that the unified report be submitted to him no later than April 15, 2016.