Free Expression Statement for Fort Lewis College

At Fort Lewis College, we are firmly committed to upholding the following tenets of free expression to help facilitate dialogue, reconcile with our institutional history, and embrace the nature of our diverse community. We view these tenets as fundamental:

  1. Open Discussion: We affirm that everyone within our community is free to discuss problems and explore solutions that foster respect, inclusivity, and open dialogue. We embrace the notion that robust and civil conversations are crucial to understanding diverse perspectives, even when we may vehemently disagree or find ourselves at odds.
  2. Engaging Opposing Ideas: We believe that the most effective way to confront ideas we may disagree with or find deeply offensive is through thoughtful and informed discussion. We champion intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the unwavering courage to challenge viewpoints, recognizing that it is through these encounters that we promote the growth of our collective wisdom.
  3. More Speech, Not Less: We embrace the principle that the antidote to objectionable or harmful ideas is not to silence or censor but to engage in more speech. We advocate for an environment where diverse voices are given ample opportunity to express their thoughts to expose fallacies and illuminate truths.
  4. Equitable Voice: We strive to ensure that all community members, irrespective of their position, backgrounds, or identities, possess an equitable opportunity to express their thoughts, concerns, and aspirations. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment where every individual is empowered to participate in the exchange of ideas and decision-making processes.
  5. Safeguarding Free Expression: We believe free speech is intended to protect all voices, and we will not tolerate any attempt to silence, threaten, or harm an individual.

This Free Expression Statement reflects our dedication to an environment where the free exchange of ideas flourishes, respectful discussion is paramount, and every community member is invigorated to contribute their unique perspectives.

By exploring diverse viewpoints and the commitment to inclusive dialogue, we foster an intellectual community that empowers individuals to grapple with complexity, confront societal challenges, and create positive change.