Office of the Provost

The University of Michigan Faculty Handbook

1.B Freedom of Speech

Free speech is at the heart of the academic mission. The University encourages open and vigorous discussion and strives to maintain an environment where the free exchange of ideas and opinions can flourish. The University also strives to encourage responsible dialogue in which the learning made possible by these exchanges can occur.

Recognizing that the expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, the Committee on Civil Liberties issued a statement regarding the rights of speakers and protesters at public, non-classroom presentations at the University. This "Statement on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression" was subsequently approved and adopted by the Board of Regents in July 1988. It safeguards the rights of members of the University community and individuals invited to the University to express their views and opinions, and of those in attendance to hear. It also recognizes and protects the rights of free expression of those who would protest a speech or performance. The full text of the Statement and Guidelines is found in SPG 601.01, available on the Web at <>.

University policies concerning freedom of speech in the context of electronic communications are evolving, consistent with national and state law. Because this area is in a state of flux, not just at the U-M, but nationally and even internationally, specific information would become quickly dated. Therefore, for current University policies regarding electronic communications, faculty should consult the following website: <>. See also section 12.G “Electronic Privacy”.

Questions about freedom of speech policies at the University should be addressed to the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel. The Committee on Civil Liberties, a Senate Assembly committee, consults with and advises the University Administration and may assist persons, who, in their roles as students or staff, suffer threats to their civil liberties.