March 3, 2021 Message

Standing with the Faculty Senate on academic freedom

March 3, 2021

Dear Campus Community, 

Yesterday, PSU’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution that lays out the policies that support free speech and academic freedom while also guarding against its abuse. Open dialogue is a central part of life in a community dedicated to learning and research as we are at Portland State and it’s also key to a participatory democracy. 

The unlawful action at the nation’s capitol on January 6 has put the issue of free speech in sharp relief. We are more aware than ever that words matter and that the spreading of false information can have dire consequences. 

In addition to the Faculty Senate resolution, the university and our AAUP colleagues will be working together to develop a guide available to members of the university who are experiencing harassment or other pressure from individuals or groups off campus. 

As a community, we have a responsibility to one another to keep our campus environment — virtual and in-person — free from harassment and intimidation. Our values as an institution include creating a safe space for a variety of perspectives and debate of intellectual ideas, advancing racial justice, supporting student success and fulfilling our role as a civic leader and partner within our community. While there are sometimes points of tension among these goals we do not view them as mutually exclusive or competing. These values underpin everything we do at Portland State. 

The mutual respect we hold for one another despite differences in opinion should always guide our interactions. Our colleagues in Student Affairs have assembled this free speech guide that provides a handy reference on this topic. 

Sincerely, 

President Stephen Percy & Provost Susan Jeffords