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Message from the Office of the Chancellor

February 12, 2020 - Free Expression at UMSL

Dear UMSL Community,

I want to remind everyone that the University of Missouri–St. Louis provides all individuals the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn. Please take a moment to review this statement on UMSL’s Commitment to Free Expression and our Campus Free Speech Guidelines as these declarations represent our commitment to protecting freedom of expression and creating an open environment where ideas can be heard and learning can flourish.

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis offered one of the greatest defenses of free speech in history, writing in his opinion in Whitney v. California: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

We celebrate the diverse and inclusive environment we’ve created at UMSL, and that must include diversity of background, experiences and thought. There might be views you or others find offensive, but that does not mean those views can or should be censored or prohibited. The First Amendment to the Constitution establishes freedom of expression as a founding principle of the United States, and it’s all the more imperative at an institution of higher education because of its central role in the promotion of learning, research and engagement.

As our campus guidelines make clear, we will protect freedom of expression, but we will not tolerate damage to university buildings or property or littering. We have established three contact points for individuals who believe these or any other laws or campus guidelines have been violated. These contacts are:

  • UMSL Police: 314-516-5155
  • D’Andre Braddix, Division of Student Affairs: 314-516-5205
  • Bob Samples, Office of the Chancellor: 314-516-5665

Thank you for your understanding and support of education and freedom of expression.

Best regards,

Kristin Sobolik
Interim Chancellor and Provost