Free Expression at Tufts

Active citizenship, including exercising free speech and engaging in protests, gatherings, and demonstrations, is a vital part of the Tufts community.

Trustee Statement on Freedom of Expression

Tufts encourages you to exercise your First Amendment Right to free speech and to participate in our democracy. This website provides advice, guidelines, and university policies related to free expression on campus. 

We encourage you to make your voices heard. Advocating for your causes and passions is part one of the life skills we hope you develop and strengthen while at Tufts, and it is part of our long tradition of civic engagement in our institution.

Everyone at Tufts has a right to express their views on campus, local, national, and international topics. You also have the right–within the legal limits reflected in our community standards–to voice your opposition to the views of others.

Please note that while we fully support every individual’s right to free expression, individual rights must be balanced against each other. As a community, we demonstrate our commitment to free expression by allowing all ideas to be heard and not silencing or speaking over those with whom we disagree. As a university, our role is to educate, inform, and engage with all ideas on their merits, even if that may create discomfort at times. We uphold the power of ideas. 

Tufts encourages open, civil discourse that is respectful and reasoned. As a university we are more tolerant than other spaces of the free exchange of ideas, including in the form of protests and demonstrations. At the same time, there are reasonable time, place, and manner limits to protests and demonstrations, as well as university and local requirements for engaging in such activities. While students have a wide range of options to express their views, Tufts expects that they will abide by all guidelines and policies. Those who choose to violate the university’s guidelines and policies must understand that they will be held accountable for those choices.

Free debate, we believe, can promote an understanding of different viewpoints—if not agreement—on the issues confronting our community, our society, and our world. Even when there are differences of opinion that cannot be overcome, civil dialogue offers a path to establishing connection through shared values and mutual respect.

While at times the exchange of controversial ideas and opinions may cause discomfort or even distress, our mission as a university is to promote critical thinking, the rigorous examination and discussion of facts and theories, and diverse and sometimes contradictory ideas and opinions.

Above all, within our democratic society, we need to protect free speech. We encourage you to take action, share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions, and meet dissenting views with a variety of respectful and peaceful responses that promote community engagement.

Elections and Voting

The Tisch College of Civic Life is an invaluable resource for election news, information, and research. 

Today, at a time when democracy is under threat, Tisch College seeks to build a robust, inclusive democracy for an increasingly multiracial society. The college has one of the biggest research teams devoted to democracy in the U.S. today, including the largest survey of college-age voters in the United States.  Review the College’s current research that is driving national conversations about the role of citizens, the health of democratic institutions, voting and elections, and the power of young people.

As a tax-exempt entity, Tufts is prohibited by federal law from participating in or attempting to influence campaigns for any elective public office or any political initiative (such as a public referendum). You are invited to review the University's Policy on Political Activities.

Report Hate Speech, Bias, and Discrimination to the Office of Equal Opportunity

OEO's mission is to educate the Tufts community about issues of bias, harassment and discrimination and to assist with the prevention and resolution of these issues in a fair and responsible manner. Learn more about the process.

Report Code of Conduct Violations

Use this form to report any code of conduct violations.

Get Support

If you have questions about our free expression guidance or policies, contact us at the Dean of Students Office. We look forward to hearing from you!