Open Expression

The Open Expression Committee is a working group of community members that seeks to promote and protect the rights of community members related to issues involving speech, debate, open expression, and protest.

The committee's primary responsibilities involve educating and advising the community about rights and responsibilities under the university's Respect for Open Expression Policy (Policy 8.14) and investigating alleged infringements of those rights through mediation and informal conflict resolution. Its additional responsibilities include mediating when possible during campus incidents in order to prevent conflicts and violations of the policy, advising administrative officials when requested, and interpreting the policy at the request of any member of the university community.

Full Committee Roster (PDF)


The Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life (DCL) has ultimate responsibility for protecting and maintaining the right of open expression and for enforcing the university's Respect for Open Expression Policy (Policy 8.14).

When the DCL chooses to delegate that responsibility, the appointed delegates then have the full authority to act in the name of the DCL under the policy. These delegates are trained staff or faculty who will serve as Open Expression Observers to help protect open expression and the rights of all parties involved.

As part of the responsibilities for enforcing the policy, the DCL may send a spectator, known as an Open Expression Observer, to meetings or protests where vigorous debate may be expected. Often, the committee will also send a member to serve in an advisory capacity to the observer. The observer's role is to protect the rights of the meeting or protest participants to express their opinions in non-disruptive ways, to educate all present on the policy and how to refrain from violating the policy, and to protect the rights of other members of the university community to conduct reasonable business.