Freedom of expression and Dartmouth policy reminders


Dear members of the Dartmouth community,

As the number of protests and related encampments has increased at colleges and universities across the country, Dartmouth remains deeply committed to dialogue across difference and open and willing to engage in conversation on difficult topics. 

Given that we understand there are plans for protests and encampments beginning this evening on campus, I also want to reiterate Dartmouth’s long-standing policies with respect to freedom of speech and the use of structures on the Green and other areas of campus.

Passionate commitment to the defining issues of our time is commendable. Dartmouth prizes and defends the right of freedom of expression and dissent, and engaging in nonviolent resistance has a long, proud history at our institution. There are many ways to protest and deliver a message and students and community members have taken ample advantage of these. At the same time, Dartmouth’s policy explicitly states that we “may place limitations on the time, place, and manner of any speaker event, protest, or demonstration” if it interferes with core educational or administrative functions of the institution. 

Our institutional policies, first established in 2015 and regularly updated thereafter, include the Use of the Green Policy and Overnight Use of Campus Grounds and Facilities Policy. These policies, which apply to all members of the Dartmouth community, specifically prohibit the use of tents and encampments on the Green and other areas of campus. Students, employees, and organizations in violation of Dartmouth policies or local laws will be immediately subject to Dartmouth’s disciplinary processes, which could include separation and expulsion. Students and employees violating local laws may also be subject to law enforcement action based on Hanover ordinances.

At Dartmouth, we are cultivating and building on a culture of respect, dialogue, and understanding. Unlike what we’ve seen recently at other institutions where encampments have turned hateful and violent and classes and graduations have been canceled, we intend to preserve in-person classes, access to Dartmouth spaces, and traditional spring events. We must be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our peers and colleagues. Our policies are designed to ensure that all of us feel comfortable, safe, and able to do our best work, and we will continue to uphold these important tenets. 


David Kotz ’86