In short, it will be a challenging year for our community's commitment to values of equality, nondiscrimination, critical thinking, compassion, and freedom of expression. Faculty, staff, and students hold strong views that span a range of positions about many of the issues facing our country, and we expect robust and civil conversations and disagreements to occur on campus. Our faculty and student groups also traditionally invite a variety of speakers to campus, and some will certainly present views that will provoke disagreement, perhaps strong disagreement, and even protest.
As we think through these challenges, I write to remind our community that as a public institution, Indiana University is bound by the Constitution's First Amendment. The First Amendment has, at its core, a deep distrust of the power of any government to restrain speech or to judge ideas dangerous, and a trust in the power of our citizens to assure that truth displaces falsity in a world of open exchange. As a country, the United States has struck a different balance on issues surrounding speech than many other countries, and sometimes First Amendment values feel strongly in tension with values of equality and inclusion, or nondiscrimination principles. As a campus, we will work this semester to open opportunities to explore these constitutional tensions and choices even as we assure that our campus remains a place that protects the expression of diverse and strongly held opinions.
I look forward to these conversations because I trust our community's ability both to support its members, and to listen to each other in difficult conversations. We grow in our critical understanding as we do so. Let's engage each other with compassion, generosity, and creativity. And importantly, let's engage with those with whom we disagree most vehemently with the dignity and clarity that comes from the strength of values that have been tested through critical and moral engagement and deep thinking.
In the meantime, please find below a set of guidelines to help us think about our obligations as community members.