Taking Back Our First Amendment

The Division of Equity & Inclusion vigorously upholds our First Amendment right to free speech, which is in the very DNA of our campus and our values.

The First Amendment protects a right to say hateful things, but as a campus we strive to be a community where no one will choose to express hate. And as a division, we vehemently condemn the use of free speech as a vehicle for hate, bigotry, and oppression. 

Students, staff, and faculty come to UC Berkeley to be part of a vibrant learning community that places knowledge and social justice at the core of our commitment to serving communities locally, nationally, and globally. On this campus, we should be able to learn, work and live without facing threats, hatred, and violence. We affirm our commitment to protecting our students, staff, and faculty and to ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of everyone here, especially those in our community who are underrepresented and marginalized.

Speakers who center their rhetoric around bigoted and oppressive ideologies invite a very real and damaging type of intimidation and violence onto our campus. They disrupt the values of the university and fracture our community. Further, the increase in security that results from such events has a harmful impact on members of our campus and heightens tensions that do not contribute to a positive learning environment or to Berkeley’s Principles of Community.

We call on our campus community — all affiliations, all identities, and across the ideological spectrum — to peacefully and assertively use our diverse voices to denounce all forms of oppression. Above all, let us do so in a way that will take back the First Amendment as a vehicle to lift equity in society, just causes, and our collective humanity.

Be safe and practice grace with yourself and with others.

Division of Equity & Inclusion
UC Berkeley
October 2023