Free Speech and Expressive Activities in the Classroom

UTSA‘s commitment to Free Speech and Civil Discourse extends to the classroom. This commitment follows from our 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.  This is fundamental to a community prepared with the knowledge, tools, and skills to engage in serious and productive exchanges of views. This understanding promotes graduating world-engaged civic leaders of tomorrow and creating an institutional culture built upon respect for others.

Our mutual responsibility to each other in the context of Free Speech in the classroom 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

Classroom Decorum

An academic classroom is a place we depend on to be engaging and full of different ideas. We expect debate, discourse and disagreement. We do not, as educators or students, expect video games, cell phones, distractions and controlling conversations. In our technology-driven society, it is important to respect each other by providing them with the classroom experience they deserve. You cannot do that with distractions from cell phones or other disruptions. If you are currently experiencing incivilities in the classroom, please notify your professor or contact Student Conduct and Community Standards to file a report or call (210) 458-4720. Troublesome behavior in your classroom may be classified as anything that disturbs you, your students, or each other during the class period.


Frequently Asked Questions