Free Speech on Campus

Updated: April 18, 2024

Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle of the University of Michigan community and essential to our core educational mission as a university — it is reflected in our history, policies and practices.

The university has long welcomed dissent, advocacy, and the expression of the broadest array of ideas, even those that could be unpopular, upsetting or critical of the university.

At the same time, the university’s deep commitment to free expression does not extend to speech or conduct that violates the law or university policy.  This includes targeted speech that involves bullying, defamation, destruction of property, harassment or threats.

Our long-standing policies, Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression – Standard Practice Guide 601.01 and the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, make clear that unduly interfering with speakers and events is not protected speech under the law and is a violation of university policy. Because the university is a public institution, we are prohibited from interfering with lawful speech and are also required to intervene when anyone attempts to substantially disrupt or interfere with the lawful speech of others.