Free Speech and Expressive Activities

Bowling Green State University exists to create and share knowledge, promote open debate and dialogue, and be a place where multiple views and perspectives can be weighed and considered.  At times, the University must allow speech on our campuses that may not align with our values of fostering a campus environment of diversity and inclusion.  As a public University, we are committed to freedom of expression and the rights protected by the First Amendment. 

According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

The Office of the Dean of Students coordinates the Expressive Event Team, which may respond to expressive activities to affirm our commitment to free speech and expression while also supporting our students, faculty, and staff who may have questions or concerns. 

Please direct inquires about free speech and expression to the Office of the Dean of Students at (419) 372-2843.

Common Campus Scenarios Involving the Freedom of Speech

Social Media

Social media provides a mechanism for information to be broadly shared – sometimes even anonymously.  Some content may even be offensive; however, the University must adhere to the First Amendment which may not allow the institution to censor the message.


A primary mission of higher education is to facilitate and protect the free exchange of ideas.  One common way to execute this mission is via speakers discussing a variety of topics and issues.  Individuals who disagree with the speaker have the right to peacefully demonstrate their differing opinion.  Blocking access to a speaker or preventing the speaker from being able to deliver their message is not permitted.

The University can regulate the time, place, and manner of free speech and expressive activities to ensure that normal operations of the institution are not interrupted. 

In the Classroom

The First Amendment also have implications inside the classroom.  Instructors may limit topics to those that are related to the academic discipline of the course.  They may also place time limits on class discussions and require that written or oral information conform to academic standards.   

Reporting Student Related Issues

The University strives to ensure that members of our community feel valued and respected and have a shared responsibility to maintain and promote an environment of civil discourse and mutual respect.  The University provides everyone the opportunity to inform us about incidents that affect members of our learning community, which include:

  1. Bias Incident for situations based upon actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression.

  2. Sexual/Relationship Misconduct (Title IX) for situations involving sexual violence, sexual misconduct, sexual or gender-based harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, or domestic violence. 

  3. Student Issue and/or Concern for an individual whom you feel may be struggling physically or psychologically.

  4. Student/Student Organization Misconduct that allegedly occurred on or off campus.

If you or someone you know experienced a situation that falls within any category below consider making an incident.

See It, Hear It, Report It.