The First Amendment at Indiana University
About This Policy
- Effective Date:
- Date of Last Review/Update:
- Responsible University Office:
- Academic Leadership Council
Office of the Vice President and General Counsel
- Responsible University Administrator:
- Academic Leadership Council Executive Committee
Vice President for University Relations
Vice President and General Counsel
- Policy Contact:
Chief Compliance and Policy Officer
University Compliance and Policy Office
- Policy Feedback:
- If you have comments or questions about this policy, let us know with the policy feedback form.
- Print or view a PDF of this policy
- Many policies are quite lengthy. Please check the page count before deciding whether to print.
This policy applies to all invited guests and visitors to Indiana University and to the following Indiana University Community Members (“IU Community Members”):
- Any employee of the university, including administrators, academic appointees, staff, temporary, and student employees;
- All students and student organizations;
- All university units;
- Any individual using Indiana University resources or facilities or receiving funds administered by Indiana University; and
- Volunteers and other representatives when speaking or acting on behalf of Indiana University.
Nothing in this policy shall affect the authority or ability of academic appointees to manage their regular teaching and research activities in accordance with their professional judgment and the principles of academic freedom and in accordance with their responsibilities under the Code of Academic Ethics, ACA-33.
The mission of Indiana University is the advancement of education and research and, in support of that mission, the university is committed to the free and civil exchange of ideas and the principles of academic freedom.
In accordance with its responsibilities under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Indiana law, Indiana University affords and is committed to protecting the rights of students, academic appointees, staff, and invited guests and visitors to free speech and expressive activity, such as assembling and speaking in public areas of campus, as well as writing, publishing, and inviting speakers on any subject.
As a public institution, Indiana University does not limit speakers or visitors to the university on the basis of their points of view or beliefs, nor will the university prohibit the expression of objections to speakers or their points of view. An invitation by an internal sponsor or a reservation of space by an external sponsor does not constitute the university’s or the internal sponsor’s endorsement of any or all the speaker’s views or opinions.
Consistent with Indiana Code 21-39-8, Indiana University reserves the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of free speech and expressive activities to protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to prevent the substantial disruption of its educational, research, outreach and business functions, and normal or scheduled uses of university property by the campus community. The exercise of free speech and assembly rights must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances. In addition, the following restrictions apply to all free speech and assembly activities on campus. Such activities must not:
- Interfere with or substantially disrupt classes in session or other scheduled programs or events;
- Interfere with or substantially disrupt the normal or scheduled use of university property or the functioning of the university;
- Interfere with or obstruct the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
- Employ unreasonable sound amplification or create unreasonable noise disruptive of normal university business or activities;
- Constitute a genuine threat or harassment, or other speech acts unprotected by the First Amendment.
Priority for the use of university property will be given to academic and administrative departments of Indiana University, as well as registered university student organizations.
Physical violence, specific or implied threats of physical violence, intimidation, and the destruction of property are strictly prohibited, and the university may exclude from its property and facilities any individual who violates this prohibition.
Reason for Policy
This policy embodies Indiana University’s institutional values and reflects its commitment to free speech on campus articulated by the Presidents and Chancellors of the Association of American Universities on April 18, 2018.
- Internal or external sponsors of an event that includes an invitation to a political candidate or candidates to speak at an event on university property, including classroom visits and debates, must contact the Office of the Vice President for University Relations to ensure that the event is conducted in a manner consistent with Indiana University’s status as a public institution and university policy. See GR-01, Contact with State Officials, Federal Officials, and Political Campaigns, and Other Political Activities.
- Events that may implicate the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment for speakers to speak, audiences to hear, and protesters to protest often require advance logistical planning and coordination with authorized university officials to provide for a safe and successful event. Internal and external sponsors of events must consult UA-19, Event Management to determine whether their event requires such logistical support.
- Many events will require compliance with both GR-01, Contact with State Officials, Federal Officials, and Political Campaigns, and Other Political Activities and UA-19, Event Management.
Authorized University Officials: Depending on the parameters of the event, authorized university officials may include the police department at the campus at which the event will be held (“IUPD”), University Events Management, campus-specific Student Affairs professionals, Environmental Health & Safety, Public Safety & Institutional Assurance.
Internal Sponsor: The university’s academic schools and departments, administrative units, centers, museums and other cultural institutions, and institutes of Indiana University, including individual faculty or staff members, and IU registered student organizations and self-governing student organizations.
Indiana University Community Members: Any employee of the university, including administrators, academic appointees, staff, temporary, and student employees; all students and student organizations; all university units; any individual using Indiana University resources or facilities or receiving funds administered by Indiana University; and volunteers and other representatives when speaking or acting on behalf of Indiana University.
Substantial Disruption: Behavior by an individual or group that prevents the university from conducting its educational, research, outreach and business functions, and normal or scheduled uses of university property by the campus community or that prevents a speaker, performer or event from proceeding, or that prevents others from hearing, seeing, or engaging with an invited speaker, performer, or event. The term also includes behavior that significantly hinders the protected expressive activity of another individual or group, prevents the communication of a message of another individual or group, or prevents the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering, or procession. The term does not include the following:
- Conduct that is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana. Except when an outdoor area of campus has been reserved in advance, protected conduct under the applicable Indiana law includes lawfully protesting in an outdoor area of campus that is generally accessible to the public.
- A minor, brief, or fleeting nonviolent disruption of an event that is isolated and short in duration.
Failure to engage with the Office of the Vice President for University Relations with respect to events involving a political candidate(s) and/or failure to follow the Event Management procedures in UA-19, if applicable, may result in denial of approval or cancellation of a proposed event or of an event already underway.
Any violations of this policy by IU Community Members (faculty, staff, academic staff, students, or volunteers) will be addressed with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal or termination from the university.
Violations of this policy by anyone who is not an IU Community Member will result in removal from Indiana University property. Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing may also be pursued.
Suspected violations of law will be referred to law enforcement and may result in criminal penalties.
This policy was published as an interim policy on July 8, 2022.
The policy contact, position titles, and office names listed in the policy were updated on April 19, 2023.
The policy's interim status was removed on April 28, 2023, with no substantive changes made.