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A Commitment to the Equitable Treatment of All Students on Campus

We are students, parents, faculty, alumni and university stakeholders who are alarmed by unprecedented levels of intolerant behavior on campuses today, whose goal is to prevent some individuals and groups from expressing their opinions, beliefs or identity, or fully participating in campus life. Speakers are being prevented from speaking, and students are being vilified, threatened, and in some cases even assaulted, because of what they believe, who they are, or who they are perceived to be. 

It is the university’s obligation to ensure that all of its students are afforded freedom of expression and to fully participate in campus life. However, this freedom cannot be guaranteed to students unless and until they are secure in the knowledge that they are equally protected from the peer-on-peer harassment that would deprive them of their freedom.  If students feel that school administrators address peer-on-peer harassment subjectively or with a double standard – responding promptly and vigorously when harassment is directed against some students but ignoring or downplaying similar behavior directed at others – it creates a sense of inequity and increased vulnerability, which in turn can lead to further suppression of students’ ability to freely express themselves.

We therefore call on all University Leaders to publicly commit to the following Equity Pledge:


 
University Leader's Equity Pledge

A Commitment to the Equitable Treatment of All Students on Our Campus

This University has a solemn responsibility to protect the rights of its students to fully participate in campus life. Intolerant behavior that attempts to restrict these rights and interfere with the ability of an individual or group to assemble, speak, and share or hear opinions, or otherwise impairs the freedom to fully participate in campus life, will not be tolerated. 

One group’s freedom of expression cannot be used to denigrate, harass, intimidate and shut down the expression of another. This not only deprives individuals of their freedom of expression and social, political and academic rights, it undermines the very mission of a university.

To this end, our University is committed to enforcing relevant federal and state laws that protect the rights of members of the University community to free expression and full participation in campus life. These include laws pertaining to freedom of expression, as well as laws pertaining to freedom from harassment and discrimination in higher education. While laws prohibiting harassment and discrimination in higher education may be limited in their jurisdiction to the protection of individuals who share certain characteristics, our University is committed to applying the same stringent standard of protection prescribed by federal and state law to all students at the University, regardless of identity, belief, opinion or legally protected status. 


 
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