CSU states commitment to free speech after protests


(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

Ren Wadsworth

Noah Pasley

Colorado State University released an email to the campus community Sept. 13 restating its commitment to the First Amendment right to free speech after protestors clashed with preachers on The Plaza last week. In the email, the University said that efforts to protect free speech often come across as protecting offensive and inflammatory speech and that the institution has “missed the mark” in communicating how students can exercise their own right to free speech.

“We encourage you to learn how to challenge, advocate, demonstrate, disagree and object to unpopular opinions in a way that moves public discourse forward,” the statement reads. “These critical skills are vital for democratic life and essential to the collective growth of our society. We also encourage you to care for one another and reach out to individuals who may be harmed by the offensive and hurtful speech.”


The statement came nearly a week after demonstrations on campus reached new heights on Wednesday, with nearly 100 people gathered on The Plaza in protests against remarks from preachers that many students found offensive, racist and homophobic.

The University’s statement added that it can do little legally to curtail offensive speech on campus but that University platforms can be used to condemn speech that is not reflective of CSU’s institutional values.

“We recognize that what is legally permissible for the University to do sometimes doesn’t feel like enough,” the statement reads. “Still, we promise you this — we will always do what is within the letter of the law to assert and affirm our own standards and disavow any speech that does not conform to our Principles of Community.”

Noah Pasley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PasleyNoah.