The College considers freedom of inquiry and discussion to be part of a student’s educational development. The College recognizes the right of its students to engage in discussions, to exchange thoughts and opinions, and to speak, write, or publish on any subject, in accordance with the guarantees of the United States and Vermont Constitutions, as well as applicable state and federal law.
However, there are recognized constitutional limits on freedom of expression, including, but not limited to: defamation (libel and slander), fighting words, true threats, inciting an imminent lawless action, and certain forms of obscenity. Furthermore, material disruption to the College’s operations and educational mission is not acceptable. The College may place reasonable limits on the time, place and manner in which expressive conduct may occur. View Policy 320 for additional information.
VSC Policy 311 (Non-discrimination and Prevention of Harassment) provides that:
The VSC recognizes that the protection of free and open speech and the open exchange of ideas are essential to any academic or artistic community, and crucial for the activity of scholars and artists. The VSC also recognizes its obligation under policy and collective bargaining agreements to respect the academic freedom of faculty members. This Policy is meant neither to proscribe nor to inhibit discussions, in or out of the classroom, of complex, controversial, or sensitive matters, including race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, disability, age, veteran status, marital status, genetic information, or HIV-positive status, when in the judgment of a reasonable person such discussions arise appropriately and with respect for the dignity of others. The VSC is a community of learners and as such recognizes and affirms that free, honest intellectual inquiry, debate, and constructive dialogue are vital to the academic mission of the VSC and must be protected even when the views expressed are unpopular or controversial.
The VSC also recognizes, however, that verbal conduct can be used specifically to intimidate or coerce and to inhibit genuine discourse, free inquiry, and learning. Such abuses are unacceptable. If someone believes that another’s speech or writing is offensive, wrong, or hurtful, he or she is encouraged to express that judgment in the exercise of his or her own freedom of speech or to seek redress when appropriate.
Students are expected to be familiar with and comply with VSC Policy 311: Non-discrimination and Prevention of Harassment and Related Unprofessional Conduct and VSC Policy 502: Computing and Telecommunications Technology Conditions of Use Policy.