POL 04.25.01 – Expression of Views by Visiting Speakers

Authority: Board of Trustees

History: First Issued: May 20, 1983. Last Revised: November 21, 1997.

Related Policies:
UNC Code Section 600 – Freedom and Responsibility in the University Community

Additional References:
UNC Code: Appendix I.C (Personnel), XII (Students), and XV (Security)

NCGS 14-11
NCGS 14-12.1

Contact Info: Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (919-515-3071)

1. Academic freedom is fundamental to the purposes of North Carolina State University. As the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina states, “The University of North Carolina is dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Academic freedom is essential to the achievement of these purposes. The University, therefore, supports and encourages freedom of inquiry for faculty members and students to the end that they may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors.” (The Code, Section 600(1)).

2. North Carolina State University has an obligation to protect the responsible exercise of the freedom of faculty and students teaching, seeking, and speaking the truth. The Board of Governors recognizes that the faculty and students should be protected in their responsible exercise of their rights of academic freedom (The Code, Section 600(2)), and further imposes upon all members of the University community a responsibility for maintaining an environment in which “academic freedom flourishes and in which the rights of each member of the academic community are respected.” (The Code, Section 600(3))

3. The rights of expression guaranteed to faculty and students should also be provided to visiting speakers at North Carolina State University. All lawful speakers shall be accorded the right to present their views without disruption. Visiting speakers’ appearances at North Carolina State University shall be in accordance with the policies and regulations adopted by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors. The University is organized around a commitment to an orderly process of inquiry and discussion. It is necessary to the preservation of our free society that the University remain free to examine all ideologies to the end that the educational purposes of this institution shall be served.

4. The Trustees recognize that the University is owned by the people of North Carolina. It is the duty of the Board of Trustees to see that the University is operated in a lawful manner for the benefit of the people. A diversity of viewpoints is an inherent part of the fabric of free discussion at a university; however, no speaker, whether faculty, student or visitor, should advocate, advise, or teach a doctrine that the government of the United States, the state of North Carolina, or any political subdivision thereof shall be overthrown or overturned by a force or violence or by any other unlawful means because such action is unlawful under North Carolina law (N.C.G.S. 14-11, 14-12.1).

5. The Trustees wish to emphasize to the citizens of the state and to the members of the University community that the right of free discussion of divergent ideas shall be protected, defended, and upheld at North Carolina State University with the utmost vigor and in a manner consistent with the laws of this state and nation. At the same time, the University emphasizes that the appearance of any individual on the campus does not mean that the University approves what that individual says or represents.

6. In order to ensure that the presentation of speakers is consistent with the principles herein set forth, the Trustees adopt these policies and regulations which shall be administered by the Chancellor or his designate. Actions of students, faculty, or staff which disrupt speakers at this University shall be considered violations of this policy. The Chancellor may pursue appropriate sanctions against disruptive individuals pursuant to other University policies and procedures as he deems appropriate. The University shall also make every legal effort to assure that persons from outside the University shall not disrupt the process of free inquiry while still affording broad community access to public forums on the campus.

7. The following regulations governing the appearance of visiting speakers are adopted.

7.1 Efforts shall be made to allow presentation of views on all sides of controversial issues in a balanced program of public addresses over a reasonable period of time.

7.2 When the Chancellor deems it appropriate, he shall require that a forum be presided over by a senior faculty member.

7.3 The right to present the opposing point-of-view in an appropriate manner and occasion shall be assured.

7.4 Only student and University organizations which are recognized by the University may use campus facilities for the presentation of speakers.

7.5 Non-University organizations authorized through official channels to meet on the campus shall be specifically informed that the use of facilities must conform to State laws and to these regulations.