Freedom of Expression at Bowling Green State University

As a public university for the public good, 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.

Per 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.”

Our community strives to ensure that everyone feels valued and respected. Because BGSU is committed to freedom of speech and expression and the rights protected by the First Amendment, there are 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.

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. Policies and support resources can be found on our expressive activity resource pages for both students and faculty and staff.

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

State Protections on Expressive Speech

Referred to as the Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act (FORUM Act), the 133rd Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 40, effective March 24, 2021, which ensures that unobstructed, lawful free speech can occur on campus. It is codified in Revised Code § 3345.021 and 3345.0212 through 3345.0214.

  • Defines terms and discusses the importance of free expression on campus.
  • Specifies that individuals are not permitted to engage in conduct that intentionally, materially and substantially disrupts another individual's expressive activity if it occurs in a campus space reserved for exclusive use or control of a particular individual or group.
  • Authorizes reasonable time, place and manner restrictions when restrictions are clear, published, neutral (as to viewpoint and content) and provide for ample alternative means for expressive activities.
  • BGSU does not take action against students, student organizations, faculty staff or visitors based on their viewpoints and the expressive activities for which they engage.
  • BGSU does not prohibit expressive activities in outdoor areas.
  • BGSU allows for members of the campus community to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble and distribute literature.

PBS Explains: Free Speech and College Campuses