Bard College Student Handbook

Free Speech Policy

The content and nature of interaction among community members is taken seriously at Bard College. The prevailing ethos encourages open discussion and the expression of individual opinion. The College defends the rights of free speech and expression, dissent and protest.

There can be no intellectual debate without honesty and integrity. Honest debate is often uncomfortable. While that is no reason to avoid difficult themes, it is reason to ask that the discomfort be mitigated by the good intentions of all involved. For this reason:

  • Speech or conduct that employs force or the threat of force is prohibited. Deliberate conduct that egregiously interferes with another’s speech, particularly in the regular academic and intellectual pursuits of the College, is prohibited.
  • Threats, harassment, coercion, and acts threatening or causing physical harm are prohibited at Bard, as they are in the public community.
  • Speech or expression that is not prohibited, but is rude, lacking in respect, disruptive, or hateful is discouraged. The College may voice its disapproval of such expression through private communications, public condemnation, the organization of public forum and calls for more speech and open debate.