II-14.1 Rationale

(Amended 7/15; 6/10/21)

Effective June 10, 2021, this policy has been revised. For the most current version without redlining, return to II-14.1.

The purpose of this policy is to prevent harassment within The University of Iowa community and to provide a process for addressing all forms of harassment if and when it occurs. The University of Iowa is committed to maintaining an environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and that fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect. This commitment requires that the highest value be placed on the use of reason and that any harassment in the University community be renounced as repugnant and inimical to its goals. Harassment destroys the mutual trust that binds members of the community in their pursuit of truth.

The University also is committed strongly to academic freedom and free speech freedom of expression. An educational institution has a duty to provide a forum in which free speech and differences of opinion are actively encouraged and facilitated, and where opinions and deeply held beliefs are challenged and debated. Critical to this mission is providing a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning. Respect for these rights requires that members of the University community tolerate expressions of opinion that differ from their own or that they may find abhorrent. In upholding these ideals, the University will be guided by the following principles:

  1. The primary function of the University of Iowa is the discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate. To fulfill this function, the University of Iowa 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 University of Iowa to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which may include ideas and opinions an individual finds unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive.
  3. It is the proper role of the University of Iowa 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. Faculty, staff, and students 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, as defined in this Operations Manual, that are consistent with established First Amendment principles.

See also Free Speech at Iowa.

This policy addresses harassment in all forms based on any classification covered by law and/or II-3 Human Rights (with the exception of sexual harassment/misconduct, which is addressed in II-4 Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct),  as well as harassment based on other factors as set forth in this policy.