As a community, Sonoma State is dedicated to fostering a welcoming environment for students, faculty and staff. As such, the rich diversity we find on our campus allows us the privilege of engaging in a diverse range of ideas and perspectives that shape our intellectual growth and understanding of the world. One fundamental aspect of this educational journey is the concept of free speech - a cornerstone of democratic societies and an essential part of our campus environment.
Free speech is an integral part of Sonoma State's core values. It fosters an environment where ideas can be freely expressed, challenged, and refined. Open exchange of ideas from differing perspectives creates a dynamic environments that prepares us for the complexities of the real world.
How free speech is distinguished from hate speech is important to maintain the health of our inclusive community. Free speech encourages the exploration of differing viewpoints, even those that may challenge our own beliefs. It is a tool that empowers us to critically assess ideas that refine our own positions through reasoned discourse. However, hate speech, which aims to intimidate or discriminate against individuals or groups based on attributes such as race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, is antithetical to the principles of a respectful and inclusive community. Such speech is not condoned at Sonoma State.
In celebrating free speech on campus, we must intentionally promote a culture of respect and understanding, within which people feel valued and protected from harm. While encouraging diversity of thought, we also want to be vigilant against speech that undermines the foundation of our supportive and inclusive learning environment.
We'd like to remind you about resources available to students through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Student Health Center (SHC).Faculty and staff can access resources through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Please also review our website Free Speech (coming soon) to find information regarding definitions, policy, and resources we hope you will find useful. We encourage all our community members to share their thoughts and observe their rights, which includes the opportunity to convene. We encourage all to register plans to ensure appropriate resources are made available to you.
Together, let's foster a campus culture that celebrates diversity, encourages dialogue and empowers every student to contribute to the collective tapestry that makes us Sonoma State Seawolves.
Dr. Ryan Jasen Henne
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.