Chapter 28 – Campus Speakers and Programs

(Regents 10/23/64; President 6/12/73; President 5/17/21)

28.1 Regents Policy

(Amended President 5/17/21)

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, Policy Manual (BRPM  4.2) addresses freedom of expression and includes the following statement and guiding principles:

  1. Policy statement. The Board of Regents is committed to the principles of free expression embodied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and in Article 1, Section 7, of the Constitution of the State of Iowa. The Board recognizes that the primary mission of the institutions of higher education under its jurisdiction is the promotion of teaching, research, and scholarship.  In support of this mission, the institutions of higher education under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents must provide ample opportunity for members of the campus community to engage in the free exchange of ideas.
  2. Guiding principles.
    1. The primary function of the Regent universities is the discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate. To fulfill this function, the universities must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression allowed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 
    2. It is not the proper role of the Regent universities to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which may include ideas and opinions the individual finds unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive.
    3. It is the proper role of the Regent universities to encourage diversity of thoughts, ideas, and opinions and to encourage, within the bounds of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the peaceful, respectful, and safe exercise of First Amendment rights.
    4. Students, faculty, and staff have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself, assemble, and engage in spontaneous expressive activity on campus, within the bounds of established principles of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that are consistent with established First Amendment principles.
  3. Campus speakers and programs. The Board of Regents Policy Manual addresses campus speakers and programs in BRPM 4.2F:

    "The universities shall encourage students and staff to hear diverse points of view from speakers and programs sponsored by the university and/or recognized student, faculty, and employee organizations. 
    1. "Restrictions. In sponsoring campus speakers and programs, recognized faculty, student, and employee organizations shall comply with institutional rules on the advance reservation of rooms, the posting of notices, and the payment of rental charges when applicable and such other rules as the institution prescribes for the use of its buildings to avoid any interference with the regular program of the institution.
    2. "Sponsorship of meeting. To encourage the presentation of diverse points of view on any issue, the president of a Regent university or a campus committee may at any particular meeting, or from time to time, sponsor, or encourage recognized campus groups to sponsor, additional speakers or programs that will contribute to the full and frank discussion of such issue."

28.2 Guest Speakers on Campus and University-Sponsored Speakers Off Campus

(President 6/12/73; President 5/17/21)

This policy applies to guest speakers invited to the University of Iowa  campus or sponsored by the University or one of its units to speak off campus. The policy serves to advise the President or designee in maintaining the orderly processes of the University, academic freedom, and other conditions essential to the learning process:

  1. If there is viewpoint-neutral reason to believe that special arrangements may be necessary or appropriate to maintain the orderly processes of the University for a scheduled speaker, this event will be organized in partnership with the University Events Committee. The event organizers will communicate with the chair of the University Events Committee. The event organizers may be the department or college sponsoring the speaker; or a University of Iowa administrative officer, faculty member, student, or other interested party.
  2. Once informed, the chair of the University Events Committee will convene the committee. The event organizers will cooperate with the committee and collaborate with other appropriate administrative officials. The committee and event organizers will then consider whether special arrangements should be implemented to safeguard the orderly processes of the University and the principles set forth above.
  3. If special arrangements are deemed in order by the University Events Committee, the chair will report to the Vice President for Student Life or designee the conclusions and recommendations of the University Events Committee. The chair also may:
    1. Communicate with the speaker and explain the situation;
    2. Request the UI Department of Public Safety to consider appropriate procedures for the speaker's appearance on campus, or request the event organizers to do so;
    3. Request the event organizers to change the location of the program or to restrict attendance to professional specialists only; and/or
    4. Maintain a public record and report appropriately to the University community on the actions being taken, the reasons for such actions, and the rights of the speaker and other persons concerned. 

28.3 Visiting Political Candidates and Elected Officials

(President 5/17/21)
  1. Political candidates, elected officials, and their campaign staff are welcome on the University of Iowa campus, subject to University policies regarding such visits.
    1. A "political candidate" is any person seeking or being considered for an elected office at the local, state, or federal level.
    2. An "elected official" is any person who holds elected office at the local, state, or federal level.
    3. A "campaign staff member" is any person who is employed by, or volunteers for, or any person who serves as a surrogate for a political candidate or elected official (as defined above).
  2. Candidate and campaign activities, political events, and rallies (“events”) in person/or virtual that occur on the University of Iowa campus, including the health sciences campus and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), must be sponsored by a University of Iowa registered student organization.

    Information on registered student organizations, including contact names and phone numbers, is available from the Office of the Dean of Students, or by accessing the registered student organization database.
  3. University of Iowa departments and units are not allowed to sponsor political candidates or elected officials. Learn more about political activities in the classroom at
  4. To begin the sponsorship process of political candidates or elected officials, contact or visit Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Event Services,  159 IMU, 319-335-3114, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 135 IMU, 319-335-1162. The Office of Governmental Relations (319-335-0553) is also available to answer questions.
  5. For the complete current policy on political candidates and elected officials on the UI campus, see