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Free Speech on Campus
Building and Effective Response Strategy
Anti-Semitism: Prejudice and Discrimination Against Jews
When Does Criticism of Israel Become Anti-Semitism
Frequently Asked Questions
  Israel
Responding to Anti-Israel Campaigns on College and University Campuses
Free Speech on Campus
Outside Speakers on Campus
Updated: January 20, 2009

On a public university campus, relatively little can be done to prohibit the comments of speakers who are not students or members of the faculty. It is crucial to keep in mind that hateful speech is not unlawful speech.  In general, speeches at a political protest rally on a university campus are protected from discipline by public schools, as long as no specific threats were directed at an individual student or group of students. As with all speakers, the university can regulate the time, place and manner of the speech; however, the First Amendment protects the content of that speech from interference by a public university’s administration. This is especially true if the speaker has been invited to speak on campus by a student group at an approved rally. If the speaker has not been invited, then the university may be able to remove him or her from the campus for disturbing the peace or interfering with the daily operations of the university. Students should refer to the student code of conduct, usually found on the university website, to determine its policies regarding outside speakers on campus.

Private universities have more freedom to prevent and punish discriminatory and harassing speech. If the speaker is from outside the university community, then the university may be able to exercise its discretionary power to prevent the speaker from coming onto the campus to speak. A private university also may be able to remove uninvited guests for trespassing. 

It is essential to remember that just as student groups may exercise their free speech rights by sponsoring a controversial speaker or printing an incendiary opinion, university administrators as well as other student organizations may exercise their free speech rights by publicly criticizing both the message and the messenger as appropriate. 

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Fighting Back: A Handbook for Responding to Anti-Israel Rallies on College and University Campuses (.pdf - 248kb requires Acrobat Reader )
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