First Amendment Rights of Student Organizations at Texas State
Across the country there has been continued dialogue regarding the First Amendment and its impact on the university community. At Texas State, we have had the same dialogue. Texas State upholds the constitutional rights of all of our students, faculty, and staff. I want to share some important information about the First Amendment and its application to our student organizations.
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are fundamental rights protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In our Texas State University System, which includes Texas State University, there are rules regarding speech and assembly. The definition in the rules states that freedom of inquiry and discussion is basic and essential to intellectual development, provided such freedoms are exercised in a manner that does not illegally derogate the rights of others or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of a component.
As our Texas State President, Dr. Trauth has stated “Texas State is a place where ideas are expressed and debated; where minds are changed; where an opinion some consider offensive is protected; where faculty members know that they will be supported, especially when they present ideas and information that are unpopular; where staff and faculty are on the front line leading courageous conversations with students and peers; and where students are led into intellectually unfamiliar and, at times uncomfortable, territory. We treasure our ability to engage in dialogue about difficult subjects, and we do that in an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of our community.”
We have more than 400 student organizations at Texas State that have the right to assemble and engage in free speech activities with respect to their own ideology and beliefs. These organizations are able to debate and share their views in a civil, respectable, and dignified manner. In accordance with the First Amendment and university policy, recognized student organizations will not be barred from Texas State University campuses unless they are under university-imposed disciplinary sanctions. I urge all students to be mindful of the First Amendment rights that each of you are guaranteed. If there are any violations of these rights that are also protected by the Code of Conduct at Texas State, please report violations to either the Dean of Student’s Office, 512-245-2124 or the University Police Department, 512-245-2805. If you have any questions, please contact the Vice President for Student Affairs Office at 512-245-2152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.