University Policy on Student Freedom. Free inquiry and expression are essential in a community of scholars. As members of such a community, students should be encouraged to develop a capacity for critical judgment and sustained and independent search for truth. Freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community.
Scope of Student Freedom. Students have the right, accorded to all persons by the Constitution, to freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, petition, and association. Students and student organizations may examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and express opinions publicly as well as privately. They may support causes by lawful means which do not disrupt the operations of the university or of organizations accorded the use of university facilities.
Policy of Board of Regents on Student Freedom.
“The action of the Board of Regents in 1894, ‘Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the Great State University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found,’ shall be applicable to teaching in the classroom and to the use of university halls for public addresses, under the control of the president of the university with appeal to the Regents.” (May 2, 1922)
“True to its time-honored traditions, the University of Wisconsin provides a forum for the free exchange of ideas and viewpoints upon current events and issues.” (Statement of President E. B. Fred, approved by the Regents, March 8, 1952.)
“The search for truth is the central duty of the university, but truth will not be found if the scholar is not free, it will not be understood if the student is not free, it will not be used if the citizen is not free. At a time when both truth and freedom are under attack the University of Wisconsin must seek the one and defend the other. It must employ with utmost energy the power of truth and freedom for the benefit of mankind.” (December 8, 1956)
We must continue to guard the university’s time-honored freedom of experimentation and expression–that fearless, democratic process which is the essence of the ceaseless search for truth. We believe that the only indoctrination worthy of this institution is in the values of freedom and free inquiry. For this we need exposure to a variety of viewpoints, brought together in the university’s own example of freedom’s effective power. This is basic in our form of government and, we believe, its surest safeguard.” (March 10, 1961)
“The concept of intellectual freedom is based upon confidence in man’s capacity for growth in comprehending the universe and on faith in unshackled intelligence. The university is not partisan to any party or ideology, but it is devoted to the discovery of truth and to understanding the world in which we live. The Regents take this opportunity to rededicate themselves to maintaining in this university those conditions which are indispensable for the flowering of the human mind.” (January 10, 1964)