Statement on the Commitment of Juniata College to Freedom of Speech and Expression

Since the time of Juniata College’s founding in 1876, the College has remained committed to free and OPEN inquiry and discourse.  The Latin phrase, “Veritas Liberat” (meaning “The Truth Shall Set Us Free”) as enshrined in the official seal of the College, signifies the College’s overarching commitment to a learning experience that liberates new ways of thinking, at all times nurtured by respect for every member of the academic community.  In such an environment, inquiring minds are molded and lives are transformed for active engagement in the world.

The hallmark of an independent, liberal arts educational institution is its identity as a robust arena for critical thinking, permitting the free and open exchange of ideas through civil discourse.  Freedom of speech has no meaning if speech is not permitted when its content challenges the status quo, is unpopular, or causes discomfort.  Students and faculty should never be discouraged from expressing their views, whether in the majority or minority.  This does not mean that individuals may speak or write whatever they wish.  We have a responsibility to foster a learning environment where multiple voices and views can be heard and understanding is sought. Attacks on individuals or groups of people have no rightful place in our community.  Speech must stay within the bounds of the law and should be compatible with the integrity and welfare of the College.

We adopt this statement to reaffirm Juniata’s commitment to free expression, our openness to a range of perspective and experiences, and our respect for the dignity of all people given our common humanity.  We call upon every member of the community to honor these principles in our unending quest to seek the truth.

Board of Trustees
Juniata College
July 25, 2020
Reaffirmed: April 20, 2024