December 13, 2017 - As those of you who will be teaching next term prepare for winter-term courses, it is important to think again about pedagogy and classroom management. When contentious social issues are discussed in class, students sometimes make declarations and accusations that, intentional or not, disrupt the learning environment. This happened several times last term, including two cases in which students made declarations in favor of white nationalism/white supremacy and at least one case in which someone not enrolled in a class disrupted it by shouting political slogans.
It is important to note that student speech, when related to class discussion and consistent with an environment conducive to learning, is vigorously protected by law and by university policy, even when such speech is offensive to others. At the same time, speech that is not relevant to class discussion and that disrupts the ability of our instructors to teach or our students to learn can be forbidden as disruptions of university activities in violation of policy.