Laws and Policies

The University of California is committed to upholding and preserving principles of academic freedom. These principles reflect the University’s fundamental mission, which is to discover knowledge and to disseminate it to its students and to society at large. The principles of academic freedom protect freedom of inquiry and research, freedom of teaching, and freedom of expression and publication. These freedoms enable the University to advance knowledge and to transmit it effectively to its students and to the public. The University also seeks to foster in its students a mature independence of mind, and this purpose cannot be achieved unless students and faculty are free within the classroom to express the widest range of viewpoints in accord with the standards of scholarly inquiry and professional ethics. The exercise of academic freedom entails correlative duties of professional care when teaching, conducting research, or otherwise acting as a member of the faculty. These duties are set forth in the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM - 015).

Academic Freedom, APM-10

U.S. Constitution

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech …”

—Amendment I

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

—Amendment XIV, Section 1, Making the First Amendment Applicable to State and Local Governments

California Constitution

“Every person may freely speak, write and publish…sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.”

Article I, Section 2(a)

California Education Code

“Neither the Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, the governing board of a community college district, nor an administrator of any campus of those institutions, shall make or enforce a rule subjecting a student to disciplinary sanction solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside a campus of those institutions, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution.”

California Education Code Section 66301

Words from UCSC

Free speech is both constitutionally protected and a fundamental value of our campus, and we have strong policies in place that protect it. Every part of the university mission depends on the robust exchange of ideas and freedom of inquiry. We embrace our responsibility to sustain the expression of a wide range of viewpoints without implying our endorsement of them.

It is not always easy to align our responsibility for protecting free speech with our values as a community. We are committed to fostering an inclusive community, especially for those traditionally under-represented, and at times, viewpoints espoused by those speaking on our campus or at events sponsored by campus affiliates challenge our community-building efforts. The exchange ideas and viewpoints can be uncomfortable, but it is a vital process that we work to improve all the time. If we are committed to the advancement of knowledge and justice, which we are, we must be committed to freedom of expression.

Universities, importantly, also have the ability to model respectful discourse, to show how those who hold opposing points of view can engage passionately but also civilly and respectfully.

–Chancellor Cynthia Larive

UC Policies and Procedures Protecting Free Expression

Time, Place and Manner Restrictions

In public forums such as the Quarry Plaza, the university may not regulate the content of speech but can place reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. Examples of permissible university time, place, and manner restrictions include:

A more complete list of university time, place, and manner restrictions can be found in the Policy on Speech and Advocacy.

Principles of Community

Learn more about the Principles of Community and the First Amendment

Report Violations and Concerns

If you believe your rights have been violated or that you have witnessed an act of hate, bias, discrimination or harassment, learn how and where to report it.