Task force on public statements update

Dear UIC community,

I write to provide an update on the progress of the task force on public statements, established in response to President Killeen’s request to each UI campus to develop clear and specific guidelines or policies regarding departmental statements on local, state, national, or international issues.

The charge of the task force represents work that has been ongoing across the university system since 2022. Communications leaders at Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield met regularly for nearly two years to discuss how universities across the country were developing statement guidelines. They collected research, met with peers and professional organizations, and conducted stakeholder interviews to propose a system-level approach. Ultimately, each university was given the charge to develop campus guidelines or policies in February 2024.

As an institution built on the foundation of an open exchange of ideas and diverse perspectives, it is our responsibility to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to uphold the university’s values and mission.

The task force’s purpose is to develop guidelines or a policy that upholds constitutionally protected free speech, clarifies the distinction between individual and institutional statements, and outlines the appropriate use of university resources for public statements. The guidelines or policy will not seek to control, threaten, or repress free speech or academic freedom.

The task force continues to meet to develop recommendations and welcomes community input from faculty, staff, and students. Ongoing updates will be provided on the task force webpage.

The work of the task force is ongoing and will continue through completion; the initial May deadline is no longer realistic to allow for thorough consideration and stakeholder review. We will be seeking additional input during the summer, with a plan to initiate formal consultation with the Faculty Senate at the beginning of the fall semester.

I appreciate your patience and collaboration as we work to finalize these important guidelines. Your input and feedback are essential to ensuring that our policies reflect the values and principles of our university community.

With regards,

Marie Lynn Miranda, PhD

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