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Freedom of Expression Policy

The American University in Cairo (AUC) values the freedoms of speech, thought, expression and assembly — in themselves and as part of the core educational and intellectual mission of all members of the AUC community. The very concept of freedom assumes that people usually choose wisely from a range of available ideas in our unique cross-cultural setting. The University is a place where ideas may be expressed freely both inside and outside the classroom. The only limits on these freedoms are those dictated by applicable law and those necessary to protect the rights of other members of the University community and to ensure the normal functioning of the University. Members of the AUC community who exercise their freedom of expression shall not be subject to discipline or retaliation.

Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom of expression must be at once fiercely guarded and genuinely embraced. This freedom should not be misunderstood to allow slander, libel and incitement of hate or threatening or abusive expression. The exercise of the freedom of expression and the assumption of the related responsibilities do not depend in any way on the message or sponsorship of the act or event, nor is it necessary that any such activities be sponsored by a University-recognized entity. The right of freedom of expression is also extended to student publications of AUC. Defending that right is a fundamental obligation of the University. Controversy cannot be permitted to abridge the freedoms of speech, thought, expression or assembly. They are not matters of convenience, but of necessity.

On the AUC campuses, without prior approval, members of the AUC community may distribute printed material, offer petitions for signature and make speeches outside University buildings. Protests and demonstrations are also permitted without prior approval, but require prior notification to the University. All such activities must be peaceful and avoid acts or credible threats of violence. No event shall infringe upon the rights or privileges of anyone not in sympathy with it, and no one will be permitted to harm others, damage or deface property, block access to University buildings or disrupt classes. University-recognized entities that sponsor invited guests to campus are expected to uphold AUC’s educational mission by planning carefully to create safe and thoughtful experiences for those involved. Those who exercise their right to freedom of expression serve the AUC community by accepting the responsibilities associated with this right.

Guest speakers are to be invited through a University-recognized entity, which is also responsible for notifying the appropriate offices. If government officials will be invited, AUC’s Office of the President should be notified. Hosts are responsible for the behavior of their guests and should exercise due care to ensure that all participants abide by relevant University policies. Individuals are responsible for educating themselves on applicable laws relating to free expression.

Consistent with the rights and responsibilities outlined in the University’s policy on freedom of expression, University hosts must follow all applicable policies related to space reservation, use, safety and security.

[Modified from the Carnegie Mellon University Policy on Freedom of Expression]

Click here for Freedom of Expression Procedures.

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