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LETTER: IU Student Code of Conduct protects civil free speech



As students who hold disciplinary power in the campus judicial process, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and at the University of Virginia. While First Amendment rights are imperative to any educational environment, bigotry, hatred, racism and anti-Semitism are unacceptable and have no place at Indiana University.

Across ideology, our Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct recognizes the rights of all students to engage in discussion; to express thoughts and opinions; and to assemble, speak, write, publish or invite speakers on any subject without university interference or fear of university disciplinary actions.  

The Student Code, however, also demands that students exercise these rights in ways that respect the human dignity of our fellow classmates. Civil discourse must be peaceful, respectful and nonthreatening. It cannot impede university activity. This includes implicit threats and riotous, violent behavior.

Both individuals and student organizations are held to the same standards of conduct. Students who face discrimination can submit a bias incident report online through the Division of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Conduct also offers a channel to hold student organizations accountable. We urge students to use these mechanisms when their rights have been violated.

We also affirm our campus community’s ability to resolve conflict without administrative action. For example, residence communities, the Office of Student Conduct and the IU Student Association’s own student advocates offer confidential, peer-to-peer mediation services, whether between roommates, neighbors or other students on campus.

As IU students, we have all agreed to these rules of behavior. We did so when we accepted the invitation to join this campus community. As we enter this academic semester, let’s remember that the diversity of identity and opinion can exist without toxicity, discrimination or violence. 

In Justice,

Indiana University Student Association Supreme Court   

Signed,

Anthony Kail, Bailey Decker, Beth Haxel, Devin Haymond, Esther Yoon, Richard Solomon, Sabrina Gowda, Sean Harrington, Sophie Lahey, Steve Browne and Zoe Need

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