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Inclusiveness & Free Speech on Campus

Public universities are proactively taking steps related to student concerns over inclusiveness and free speech.  To help all our Council on Strategic Communications (CSC) members get a better sense of how public universities are managing these complex circumstances, APLU is posting a sample of statements and activities from university leaders that address these issues.

If you would like to add your institution's response to the list below, please email APLU Public Affairs.

Auburn University

President Jay Gouge sent a letter to the university community in which he announced the university would undertake a comprehensive review of the institution's diversity programs.  A follow-up letter expanded on several efforts that have already taken place.

Clemson University

President James Clements updated the university community on steps the institution is taking to ensure inclusiveness, including the latest on a task force created to address how the institution tells the story of its history.  In addition, the university created a special portal to make its diversity programs and activities easier to find and made its diversity content more easy to find on ClemsonTV. 

Colorado State University

President Tony Frank released a statement (November 13, 2015) about "the balance between the free expression of ideas (freedom of speech) and creating learning communities that promote inclusion and reject intolerance."

Kansas State University

Kansas State's Dean of Student Life sent a letter (November 9, 2015) to the community about inclusiveness and free speech.

Miami University

President David Hodge emailed the university community with information about Miami's efforts, which includes online resources, and scheduled dialogues to allow the community to connect with each other.

Missouri University of  Science & Technology

Read Chancellor Cheryl B Schrader's statement (November 17,2015) that appeared in a newsletter to students, alumni, faculty and others.  In addition, the university's previous newsletter (November 11, 2015) included a statement regarding a series of posts made on Yik Yak.

New Mexico State University

Chancellor Garrey Carruthers sent a message to students, faculty and staff about respecting differences and supporting freedom of expression.

Oklahoma State University

President Burns Hargis last year sent a video message to to the campus following an incident involving racial comments made on an anonymous social media platform.

Oregon State University

President Ed Ray has addressed the campus community in three recent presidential communications on student concerns regarding racial injustice and inclusivity and shared actions that Oregon State is taking, including creating a Chief Diversity Officer position, which will collaborate with the university’s present office of equity and inclusion.

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta released the following statement about the freedom of expression during a controversial student event held in March 2015.  In addition, the university created a Q&A and draft email response.

University of Arizona

President Ann Weaver Hart was joined by the Chair of the Faculty and presidents of the graduate and undergraduate student governments in releasing a statement about the university's commitment to respect and equity (November 13, 2015).

University of Arkansas

Chancellor Daniel Ferritor sent a message (November 10, 2015) about respect and tolerance to the university community.

University of California-Davis

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has released a series of statements in response to hate crimes on campus (October 10, 2015 and October 12, 2015).  In addition, she outlined a "path forward" for the institution.

University of Central Florida

President John Hitt sent a message on "Dignity and Respect" that included a list of resources the community could use.  In addition, the university has hosted and planned a series of discussions allowing students, faculty, and others to talk and debate these issues.

University of Florida

President Kent Fuchs authored an op-ed (November 11, 2015) in the student newspaper, the Independent Florida Alligator, on the importance of fostering a welcoming and diverse campus community and encouraging regular dialogue on a range of topics. The university also posted the piece on its homepage.

University of Kansas

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little sent a message to students, faculty and staff (November 13, 2015) committing to continue the university’s ongoing efforts to address racism and discrimination on campus following a university town hall focusing on diversity. Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor, distributed a message to campus detailing further action plans on the issue (November 17, 2015). Following those communications, Sara Rosen, incoming interim provost and senior vice provost for academic affairs, wrote a memo updating the campus community on first steps toward greater awareness and inclusion on campus (November 24, 2015).”

University of Minnesota

The university is leveraging its campus climate website to address these issues, which includes a message from Provost Karen Hanson (November 18, 2015).  In addition the university is hosting campus dialogues and critical conversations to bring the community together on these issues.

Western Michigan University

President John Dunn authored a statement that was sent to all faculty, staff and students, as well as shared broadly via social media.  The statement was also read by students during a rally on campus. 

Wichita State University

President John Bardo hosted a forum ((November 12, 2015) in which nearly 250 students, faculty and staff engaged in a dialogue on diversity.  In addition, he sent a follow-up letter to the community summarizing the forum (November 13, 2015) and another letter on the subject of hateful speech and the first amendment (November 19, 2015).


President Peter McPherson penned an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star (November 16, 2015) that coincided with the 2015 APLU Annual Meeting.