NDSU is committed to the protection and exercise of the freedom of speech and will remain content neutral in decisions related to the free expression of ideas. The free exchange of ideas is welcomed and valued at NDSU.
The Dean of Students office is charged with assisting individuals and groups who wish to exercise their right to free speech, expression, and assembly. The Dean of Students office will answer related questions and facilitate communication with other campus constituents. NDSU’s full policy on free speech can be found in the NDSU Policy Manual, Section 154.
Introduction to Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Assembly
(Policy Manual, Section 154)
North Dakota State University recognizes and supports the fundamental right of its students and others to free speech and expression under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the North Dakota Constitution. NDSU values and encourages the free exchange of ideas while maintaining the safety of the campus community and the orderly operations of the institution. To that end, NDSU is committed to ensuring the freedom to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue, subject to reasonable and constitutionally-recognized limitations. As part of this commitment, NDSU is dedicated to promoting free speech and expression while providing a safe and non-discriminatory campus climate that supports diversity of thought and people.
Free Speech Areas (154.4)
Open Public Forums are the most accessible spaces for free speech activities. These are the open, outdoor areas of NDSU’s campus, and do not typically require a reservation for use. Reservations are only needed if a group wishes to use amplified sound, or have exclusive use of a particular area. Please use the Free Speech Event Reservation Form to request such arrangements.
Designated Public Forums are areas that may be set aside for the expression of free speech, but with some restrictions due to the nature of the space (i.e. contact tables and reserved rooms in the Memorial Union). Any restrictions in place for these areas are designed to ensure public safety and to avoid the disruption of University business (i.e. teaching). These areas require reservations. Reservations for these areas must follow the procedures designed for each building.
Closed Forums are areas of campus that are fully restricted to ensure continuous public safety and the ability to conduct University business (streets, restrooms, office suites, etc.).
Frequently Asked Questions About Free Speech at NDSU
Q: How does NDSU decide what speakers to allow on campus?
A: We follow our policies and the law. Decisions are content neutral.
Q: Does NDSU block groups based on political or moral grounds?
A: No. Decisions are content neutral. NDSU is open to any group. To attempt to ensure safety and security for both speakers and listeners, some events may be subject to constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions.
Q: What if I find the content being expressed offensive?
A: There are really two primary options. The first is to leave the area. No person or group is allowed to impede your ability to remove yourself from the situation. You are also free to exercise your own right to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly in any manner that does not constitute harassment or jeopardize the safety of another individual.
Q: Don’t I have a right to say whatever I want on the NDSU campus?
A: Yes, as long as that speech does not jeopardize physical safety or constitute a violation of law or the Code of Student Conduct.
Q: Don’t I have a right to walk across campus without being offended or subjected to material I find offensive?
A: No, but you do have the right to exercise your own rights or remove yourself from the area.