University of Colorado Regents Plan to Send Letter to Students Reaffirming Free Speech Commitment

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This month, the Board of Regents for the University of Colorado system approved a proposed plan to send a letter to all students entering the system this upcoming fall semester. The plan passed by unanimous vote among the Board of Regents and per their announcement, it is to reiterate the university system’s support for freedom of speech.

Chance Hill, a Republican board regent, said about the letter, “The mission is quite simple. Its primary purpose and aim are to demonstrate and signal to all first-year undergrad students at all four campuses the first week of the academic year, that the senior leadership is committed to building a campus culture that values free speech in all its forms and diversity in all its forms.”

In the letter, the university regents said that it is “one of only a few universities that have recognized that students have rights of academic freedom in the classroom.” The regents urge students to take challenging classes, ones that will challenge the student “intellectually and expose you to new ideas.” In a nod to political and rhetorical divisiveness, the letter said, “[W]e hope that you engage each other, raise questions and develop reasoned opinions.”

The letter also said that the university system will “uphold our students’ ability to voice their beliefs, even when others construe their speech as wrong or insensitive.” Instead of focusing on angry rhetoric, the board of regents said, “We fundamentally believe more communication and a greater exchange of ideas between people of diverse backgrounds makes our constitutional republic stronger.”