Freedom of Speech

The Tennessee Constitution recognizes the free communication of thoughts and opinions of every citizen as an invaluable right (Article 1, Section 19).  To uphold the principles of the United States Constitution's First Amendment and free speech in higher education, the State of Tennessee additionally enacted the Campus Free Speech Protection Act , which takes effect January 1, 2018 (Senate Bill 723). 

Middle Tennessee State University ("MTSU" or "University"), its officers, administrators, Faculty, and staff, affirm and confirm that freedom of speech is a fundamental right.  MTSU is committed to the free expression and open inquiry by students in all matters, except in instances such as when the speech is:

  • a violation of state or federal law;
  • an expression that a court has deemed as defamatory;
  • a genuine threat or harassment;
  • an unjustifiable invasion of privacy or confidentiality; and/or
  • an action that directly conflicts with the function of the University or that interferes with the academic process.

The University may provide reasonable viewpoint and content-neutral restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expression to advance a significant institutional interest; however, any such restrictions will be clearly communicated and published to allow ample alternative means for student expression.

The following provides additional information about the Campus Free Speech Protection Act, as well as other information concerning freedom of speech and freedom of expression on campus: