Free Speech Week at UT showcases the University’s commitment to freedom of speech, civil discourse and the importance of engaging in constructive debate. During this week, UT celebrates this commitment and demonstrates how diverse perspectives are welcomed on the Forty Acres and are integral to the educational environment and our mission as a University.
“The freedom to speak, think and express is at the very heart of any world-class academic institution. If we, at The University of Texas at Austin, are to lead society forward by educating new generations of talented students and discovering new knowledge, we must bring together a wide range of perspectives, viewpoints and voices to do so. It is only through discourse — and occasionally, hard conversations and vigorous debate — that we can find common ground and make progress together.”
– Jay C. Hartzell
President, The University of Texas at Austin
In celebration of Free Speech Week, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, sits down with Amanda Cochran-McCall, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, to answer questions about free speech and its importance on our campus.
What is free speech and what role does it play in our academic and research mission?
What kind of speech or expression is allowed by law and what is not? Can someone say anything they want no matter how hurtful it is?
Why can members of the public come to campus at any time and engage in demonstrations and speeches?
What should students do when they encounter a public speaker on campus who is saying things they don’t agree with?
What is the line between one person’s right to say something and another person’s right to not be subjected to hearing it?
Free Speech Week (FSW) is a yearly event to raise public awareness of the importance of freedom of speech and of the press in our democracy- and to celebrate that freedom. As freedom of speech and of the press are rights all Americans share, this non-partisan, non-ideological event is intended to be a unifying celebration. Visit Free Speech Week for more information.