Brown University’s Discrimination & Harassment Policy
Drawing on the university’s 1966 statement of principles regarding academic freedom and freedom of expression, Brown University’s Discrimination & Harassment Policy balances its obligations to comply with federal and state laws and to protect members of the university from discrimination and harassment with its commitment to free speech. The policy cites the 1966 principles and states, “In an academic community, the response to ideas believed to be distasteful or offensive should be other ideas and relevant evidence rather than administrative sanctions.”
Excerpt from policy
“These procedures are not intended to inhibit or restrict free expression or exchange of ideas. The faculty and Corporation, in 1966, adopted the following statement of principles regarding academic freedom and freedom of expression:
“‘Academic freedom is essential to the function of education and the pursuit of scholarship in universities. Therefore, Brown University, mindful of its historic commitment to scholarship and to the free exchange of ideas, affirms that faculty and students alike shall enjoy full freedom in their teaching, learning, and research. Brown University also affirms that faculty and students shall have freedom of religious belief, of speech, of press, of association and assembly, of political activity inside and outside the University, the right to petition authorities, public and university, to invite speakers of their choice to the campus and that students and faculty as such should not be required to take any oath not required of other citizens. The time, place and manner of exercising these rights on campus shall be subject to reasonable regulation only to prevent interference with the normal functions of the University.’
“In an academic community, the response to ideas believed to be distasteful or offensive should be other ideas and relevant evidence rather than administrative sanctions. Speech or expression protected by the University’s statement on academic freedom and freedom of expression, as well as speech protected by state and federal laws are not subject to sanction under these procedures.”
What we like about this policy
- Is grounded in fundamental principles of the university.
- Affirms that fighting discrimination and harassment is central to the fundamental mission of the university.
- Addresses academic freedom considerations in its “Procedures” section, indicating that the university is committed both to protecting the community from prohibited discrimination and harassment and to ensuring that protected speech is not sanctioned.
- Clearly outlines the factors that determine whether someone has violated the policy.