This university president is taking a stand for free speech

Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson declared the university would respect free speech for students and faculty.

The Board of Trustees issued a Freedom of Speech Policy in 2019.

Metropolitan State University of Denver  (MSU Denver) President Janine Davidson has committed the school to respecting all student speech, The Denver Post reported.

“It is not my job to shut down speech,” Davidson said. “It is my job to teach [students] to have respectful dialogue. There should be no expectation on this campus that the president is going to protect you from what you don’t want to hear.” 

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The Colorado university will not “coddle marginalized groups by designating official separate forums” or enforce “free speech zones,” according to The Denver Post.

Davidson’s approach stems from her involvement with a campus task force and her experience teaching a free speech course. The course was taught alongside general counsel David Fine, who stated that “it is imperative to produc[e] students who become contributors to a healthy civic society.”

MSU Denver's Board of Trustees published a Freedom of Expression Policy in Jan. 2019 which “affirms the [Board’s] commitment to freedom of expression.”

“MSU Denver welcomes diverse and divergent perspectives in its governance and decision-making processes,” the policy states. “Therefore, MSU Denver students and employees have the right to assemble peacefully, to communicate ideas freely, and to discuss any issue affecting the University community without fear of institutional discipline or retaliation.”

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The policy also defines “free expression” as “the unrestricted exchange of ideas, regardless of topic or medium” and includes protests, verbal communication, sign holding, petitioning, and printed material as protected activities.

It is reviewed “every five years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.”

Campus Reform reached out to MSU Denver, Davidson, and Fine for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Follow @MadisonRehbehn on Twitter.