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Outside Speakers and Campus Security Concerns

CAUT Policy Statement

As part of their educational mission, universities and colleges provide a forum for the expression of a wide variety of ideas and views. This includes allowing members of the campus community to invite outside speakers to campus. Universities and colleges should respect the choices of academic staff, students, and campus organizations who invite outside speakers they wish to hear. Some invited speakers may generate controversy and protest. Members of the campus community have a right to object to a speaker’s views and to protest, so long as they do not prevent the speaker from being heard.

Administrations should not cancel events or rescind invitations to outside speakers unless there is clear, objective, and demonstrable evidence of imminent violence and danger, and when no other practical response is available.

Universities and colleges should not require the sponsors of outside speakers to bear security costs when they anticipate there might be an attempt by others to protest an event. The imposition of security costs should not be used as a device of censorship. Administrators should make every reasonable effort to ensure security conditions are in place so that outside speakers have an opportunity to express their views, and protestors can exercise their freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2021.