Beyond the Classroom

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Expressive Activity at VCU

Last updatedOctober 1, 2018 by Division of Student Affairs in General Updates

We have had an unusual start to the fall semester due to inclement weather.  I hope that you and your family have been able to navigate these challenges successfully and that your semester is off to a good start. We encourage members of our community to assist others impacted by Hurricane Florence or Typhoon Mangkhut.  The Center for International Disaster Information indicates sending money to a reputable charity is always the best method to provide disaster support.

I wanted to briefly share information regarding expressive activities that one of your student colleagues encouraged us to share annually with the student body.

VCU is a very diverse community with a host of differing viewpoints reflecting each of our personal lenses through which we see, and experience, the world.  This diversity of viewpoint and opinion is a tremendous asset to our community. Our hope is that you engage in conversations with others who share similar and dissimilar perspectives. The university is committed to fostering a climate which encourages civil and spirited discourse through classes, events, and the public forum.

VCU is also obligated, as a public university, to ensure a strong commitment to the First Amendment and Virginia law. The First Amendment prohibits prior restraint on speech and taking adverse action against individuals or groups, whether affiliated with the university or not, based on the viewpoints of that speech. Expressive activities, no matter how graphic, appalling, or insensitive they may be to others, are protected speech at a public institution of higher education such as VCU. This freedom of speech also encompasses the rights of those who present a differing viewpoint.

The new Reservation and Use of Space policy clarifies how expressive activities occur at VCU. A list of Frequently Asked Questions can assist with questions that we have been asked previously, including but not limited to those pertaining to time, place, manner, costs, and major events. We also have a team of staff members through the Division of Student Affairs who are available to consult and are often in attendance when expressive activities occur on campus. The Dean of Students office is available throughout the year to meet with students who have specific questions or concerns and can be reached at vcudean@vcu.edu or (804) 828-8940.   

Thank you for your support of expressive activity on our campus and your willingness to engage in productive civil discourse with others.

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