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Freedom of Expression & Expressive Conduct

Fostering an ethos of inquiry while building community and empowering lives of purpose, service and leadership

Freedom of Expression at AU

American University is committed to protecting free expression for all members of its community. Protections for free expression play an essential role in creating space for individuals to practice the ethos of inquiry, which is fundamental to the mission of a university.

Each member of this community balances their right to free inquiry with their responsibility to be open to listening and learning, respect the rights of others, and acknowledge each person’s human dignity. Through this balance, AU creates and maintains an environment that can advance knowledge, foster intellectual curiosity, encourage creative expression, build community, and empower lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

— from the AU Policy on Freedom of Expression & Expressive Conduct

freedom of expression

Freedom of Expression & Expressive Conduct

On academic freedom, creative work and journalism; community life, speakers and protests; limits and responsibilities.

Read the Policy

Values - Integrity

Statement of Values

AU is committed to protecting expression in the service of its academic mission. This statement explains the spirit in which we understand this commitment.

Read the Statement


Student Activism

Support, resources, and information for student activists at AU.

For Student Activists

Freedom of Expression in the News

President Sylvia Burwell discusses free speech as Johns Hopkins president Ron Daniels sitts next to her, with moderator Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill of the Bipartisan Policy Center on her other side.

Panel Explores Free Speech at Universities

President Burwell discussed freedom of expression with other higher education leaders.

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A group of student protesters viewed from above. Several are holding signs, one reading "Black Lives Matter" is visible.

The Power of Free Speech

The Project on Civil Discourse helps students balance competing ideas in today's polarized society.

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The front of Kerwin Hall during the day with some students sitting at tables in front of the building, taken by The Eagle's Joshua Katz.

Student Reflections on Freedom of Speech

The Eagle examines campus tensions and student viewpoints around free speech.

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More Than Words: Panel on Free Expression

Sylvia M. Burwell, president of American University; Taffye Benson Clayton, vice president for inclusion and diversity at Auburn University; and Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University discuss the importance and complexity of building a campus community and culture of free inquiry and speech and inclusivity. Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Campus Free Expression Project, moderates the panel.