Civil Discourse

UTSA is committed to Free Speech and Civil Discourse and flows from our core value that encourages an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration, and innovation are fostered. The best chance to fulfill our commitment is with the recognition of the mutual responsibility and regard for the rights to Free Speech of each other.

Our mutual responsibility to each other in the context of Free Speech is best manifested when we:

  • Undertake more thoughtful exchanges of viewpoints
  • Engage in more productive and appropriate debates
  • Focus on the issues rather than on the individuals supporting them
  • Support interpretations using verified information
  • Listen more thoughtfully to what others say
  • Seek sources of disagreement and points of common purpose
  • Embody open-mindedness and a willingness change minds
  • Assume a need to compromise and a willingness to do so
  • Treat the expressions and ideas of others with respect
  • Avoid escalation to verbal, emotional or physical harm


Civil Discourse is about being able to show respect for others. To do so, you are encouraged to respectfully hear and listen to differing points of view, clarify what you heard when you are unsure of what you heard, and understand that what people understand you to have said may be different from what you said.  It is also important to recognize that people can disagree. Always speak for yourself not others. Recognize a person’s right to advocate ideas that are different from your own, discuss policies, politics, issues and ideas, not people and disagree without being disagreeable.

  • “Recognize a person’s right to advocate ideas that are different from your own
  • Discuss policies, politics, issues and ideas, not people
  • Disagree without being disagreeable
  • Use civil and helpful, not hurtful language
  • Respectfully respond to differing points of view
  • When unsure of what another person means by what they have written, ask for clarification
  • Realize that what you write and what people understand you have said may be different. Be patient and explain yourself again if other posters misinterpret your meaning
  • Recognize that sometimes people can and must agree to disagree
  • If you are not sure what you are about to say is civil, find another way to say it or let it go
  • Reliance on labels for groups of people is often the first step toward the negative. Whenever possible, avoid them. They rarely add to the quality of any discussion”
  • Speak from experience