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Caltech Free Speech and Expression Policy

April 26, 2024

To: The Caltech Community
From:  Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President, and David A. Tirrell, Provost

College campuses across the country have been roiled by protests over Gaza, raising fundamental issues involving freedom of expression, hate speech, and campus safety. With these challenges in mind, Institute leaders recently reviewed and updated Caltech's Free Speech and Expression policy. The policy, available on Human Resources website and the External Relations website, intends to provide all members of the Caltech community with clarity on what is acceptable conduct and the Institute's expectations of its community members during expressive events and activities.

A robust, intellectual debate is essential to our democracy and, more specifically, foundational for a college campus where new knowledge is created by bringing together diverse individuals to express their views freely and, in colloquy, shape each other's ideas. Caltech is committed to the free exchange of ideas and recognizes that, in a diverse and thoughtful community, there will be conflicting beliefs and opinions.

It is not the role of the Institute to attempt to shield people from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive, and the expression of objectionable speech on its own is not grounds for silencing. At the same time, the Institute has an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of all Caltech community members and has a responsibility to implement policies that enable the Institute and its actors to do so.

We encourage all members of our community to review the updated policy and to consider the implications of this policy in their actions.