Policy 1009 - Speech and Expression

Section: Operating/Administrative
Policy Number: 1009
Responsible Office: Student Life and HR Services
Effective Date: 5/12/93


St. John’s University is committed to standards promoting speech and expression that foster the responsible exchange of ideas and opinions which enables the pursuit of knowledge and truth. As embodied in the University’s Mission Statement, “We commit ourselves to academic excellence and the pursuit of wisdom which flows from free inquiry, religious values, and human experience.”

All members of the St. John’s University community, which includes students, faculty, staff and administrators enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression that is consistent with the University mission and its Catholic character and Vincentian tradition. St. John’s seeks to foster an environment of global harmony and the incorporation of diverse perspectives. As is true with the society at large, this freedom is subject to reasonable parameters of time, place, and manner and compatibility with the Mission of the University.

The right of free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity that endangers or threatens to endanger the safety of any member of the University community or any of the University’s physical facilities, or any activity that disrupts or obstructs the functions of the University or immediately threatens such disruption or obstruction.

As stated in the University’s Mission Statement, “We embrace the Judeo-Christian ideas of respect for the rights and dignity of every person and each individual’s responsibility for the world in which we live.” Expression that is indecent or is obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, ethnicity, religion or gender is inconsistent with accepted norms of conduct at the University.

Although St. John’s University supports the responsible exchange of discourse and the expression of ideas and opinions, the use of the University forum shall not imply acceptance or endorsement by the University of the views expressed. If the rights of any member of the University have been violated and/or he or she has experienced a direct conflict with the above stated policy, he or she may:

  • Students and Faculty: file a complaint with the Office of Student Life on his or her campus.
  • Administrators and Staff: follow the procedures found in policy #701, Complaint Resolution.

The University has established procedures to assist members of the University community to interpret the Speech and Expression policy. These procedures may be found in the Student Handbook.


St. John's University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual