Saturday, February 29, 2020

New law on protected expression on public campuses goes into effect

New law on protected expression on public campuses goes into effect

Nov. 4, 2019 — Editor’s note: The follow message was distributed to students, faculty and staff today from President Taylor Eighmy and LT Robinson, senior vice provost for student affairs and dean of students.

Dear Roadrunners,

We are writing to let you know about a new Texas state law regarding free speech on university campuses and how the law affects us here at UTSA.

On Sept. 1, 2019, a new law went into effect regarding Protected Expression on Campus. The law will have several noticeable changes for Texas public university campuses, including:

  • Reclassifying common outdoor areas from limited public forums to traditional public forums.
  • Permitting any person (even those not affiliated with the university) to engage in expressive activities on campus. The right to engage in these activities is subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions designed to avoid disruption of institutional operations.
  • Requiring institutions to adopt a policy detailing campus free speech rights and responsibilities, including a grievance mechanism to address complaints alleging policy violations.
  • Specifying that the policy, once adopted and approved by the institution’s governing board, be made available to faculty, staff and students. The policy must be in place no later than Aug. 1, 2020.

Most of the intended outcomes of the new law are already in practice at UTSA. We have a strong commitment and moral obligation to protect the principle of free speech, and readily welcome members of the university community and beyond to engage in respectful expressions on campus.

Over the next few months our Office of Student Affairs and Office of Legal Affairs will work to formally incorporate the new law into our policies and procedures. By March 2020 we anticipate finalizing appropriate revisions to our policy on Peaceful Public Assembly as the overarching free speech policy on campus. We are also working on appropriate changes to UTSA’s Student Code of Conduct and other relevant policies and procedures.

It’s important to us that this policy work be done collaboratively with input from you—our students, faculty and staff. The Office of Student Affairs will engage students and student organizations to discuss and address any concerns that may be shared throughout this process.

Likewise, our Respectful Discourse Initiative will educate and foster dialogue within the university community regarding policy changes.

We are confident that the proactive measures we are taking in this area will enable UTSA to serve as an exemplar for creating an institutional culture built upon respect for others. We encourage you to visit our Civic Discourse and Engagement page for ongoing updates regarding these efforts and for additional resources.

Celebrate UTSA’s 50th Anniversary and share social media posts about the 50th using the hashtag #UTSA50.

Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.




UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection now available online

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.