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Free Speech at UC Merced

Universities serve an important role as places where knowledge is created and shared, and students develop their independent thoughts and judgement. This cannot happen if the campus community is protected from ideas and opinions that some may find unwelcome, or if we silence speakers with whom we disagree. The principles of freedom of expression exist to prevent censorship of views that may be considered wrong or controversial, and even hateful to some.

The University cannot and will not censor speech or punish people merely because they express ideas we do not like or with which we disagree. We will not deny speakers access to our campus venues because of their viewpoints. We will not fire employees or discipline students simply because they express unpopular viewpoints. And we will protect all members of the campus community and our invited guests and speakers from any effort to silence them.

At the same time, because no one has the right to be free from criticism, we will always ensure that members of the campus community can peacefully protest and express condemnation of views with which they disagree. Our role as a leading university encourages us to engage competing perspectives and learn from those who hold different viewpoints. It also demands that we speak out in support of each other when members of our community are subject to hateful, discriminatory or inflammatory personal attacks.

Understanding the underpinnings of our free speech rights and how we deal with issues as they arise in our campus community is crucial to fostering robust dialogue and protecting the rights of our campus constituents. Please explore this website and the resources provided to help you navigate the challenging, yet empowering, nature of our free speech rights.

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UC Merced is committed to assuring that all persons may exercise their constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, and assembly.


The First Amendment gives us all a great deal of power by allowing us to express ourselves freely, with limited restrictions, and to disagree with the speech and actions of others.

Get Resources

UC Merced offers many resources and services to help students, faculty and staff understand their rights and to cope with the discomfort that the free and open exchange of ideas can bring.



UC Merced would like to thank our colleagues at UC Santa Cruz for allowing us to adopt content from their website.