University of Wyoming Wants Free Speech For All
“There are legal limitations to free expression on our campus. But feeling uncomfortable or offended -- and, in many cases, even feeling unsafe -- is not, in and of itself, grounds for stopping speech,” said University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel last week.
Conflicts over freedom of expression and inclusiveness led President Seidel to form UW’s Freedom of Expression, Intellectual Freedom and Constructive Dialogue Working Group to be formed last winter.
Seidel said in the news release that several situations at the University have tested the bounds of free expression and constructive dialogue, but he is committed to representing voices from all groups, citing allowing a student-organized drag show event and conservative speaker Riley Gaines to present on campus.
Conflicts arise on either end of the spectrum; therefore he charged the working group with researching and forming recommendations for how to be an inclusive campus. To see the group’s entire report and recommendations, click here.
“At the same time, we must acknowledge that the First Amendment allows expression that is so reprehensible that it must be answered. Within the framework of institutional neutrality, there may be occasions when I speak in response to speech that is objectionable from every reasonable perspective,” Seidel said, before discussing the recommendations.
Seidel said the Board of Trustees supports the group’s counsel, which applies to three areas on campus: operationalizing, communicating, and practicing principles of free speech and constructive, respectful dialogue. Campus communication via website will maintain the current status of key actions being taken and planned to achieve the University’s goals.
Gallery Credit: Nicole Sherwood