A note about free speech

November 3, 2017

Dear University Community,

As some of you may be aware, Vanguard America, a white supremacist group that opposes multiculturalism and champions Neo-Nazi views, recently posted pictures on social media in which a couple of their members appear in costume on the TWU Denton campus. This group espouses an ideology that is in opposition to the values the university strives to uphold. At Texas Woman's University, we are committed to being a university that is welcoming and inclusive to all.

We are an educational institution that supports the principle of free speech, as this country’s founders scribed in The First Amendment. Though Vanguard America’s beliefs are in direct opposition to the values of our university, we understand that the members of this group have the right to assemble and speak in a public forum. The Supreme Court has established hate speech is protected speech, no matter how offensive or derelict.

Free speech is not absolute. There are limits. When free speech incites illegal activity, constitutes a “true threat” that causes a person to fear imminent harm or rises to the level of prohibited harassment, it can be addressed. We are committed to taking action to protect the safety of our students and campus community.

Because these events can be painful and heart-wrenching, we will support one another and stand together as a community to denounce hatred in every form. Our diverse faculty, staff, and students are our greatest strength.

I invite you to attend the upcoming Cultural TALKS focused on race and ethnicity on Tuesday, November 7, from 4-5:30 pm in CFO 202. Student Life has been building programming based on your feedback; watch for upcoming programs on important topics, including hate speech. Southern Poverty Law Center’s “10 Ways to Fight Hate” is a useful article for students who want to empower themselves.

Students struggling with the impact of these events are encouraged to visit Counseling and Psychological Services for additional support. Faculty and staff may engage the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for support through HR. Contact the TWU Department of Public Safety any time you are concerned about physical safety. Finally, you may use the incident report form to report any acts of intolerance.

I hope this message will help you better understand how we stand united against hatred and will continue to uphold the principles and values of Texas Woman's University.


Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.

Page last updated 4:44 PM, July 20, 2018