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Middlebury Adopts New Policy on Open Expression

December 4, 2019


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – On November 21, Middlebury President Laurie Patton notified faculty, staff, and students in Middlebury and Monterey that Middlebury had adopted a new Policy on Open Expression. 

In an email message, she said, “Its purpose is both to protect the expression of every member of our community and to prohibit substantial disruption of someone else’s expression on our campuses.” She added that Middlebury’s “commitment to open expression is integral to our vision of a world with a robust and inclusive public sphere where more and more voices can be included and heard.” Patton also discussed the connection between inclusion and open expression, saying, “The new policy reflects our dedication to these two principles,” and they are “values that reinforce each other.”

The president’s message provided a link to the new policy as well as information about its origins—from how it grew out of Middlebury’s statement about academic freedom, integrity, and respect in 2018 to its adoption by the senior leadership group in November 2019. As Patton noted, the Policy on Open Expression will replace the current Demonstrations and Protests Policy and is linked to updated demonstration regulations, FAQs, and a new page of open expression resources.

In her all-campus notice, Patton also discussed the development of additional resources for inclusion, including the five-year action plan on diversity, equity, and inclusion that will be shared with the community during this academic year.

She concluded by expressing thanks, on behalf of senior leadership, for the efforts of all the faculty, staff, and students who worked to create the new policy.