UW–Madison’s mission is, in part, to generate and share knowledge through a broad array of scholarly, research and creative endeavors, and to strengthen cultural understanding by providing opportunities for people to study the implications of social, political, economic, and technological change.
Inherent in this mission is the need for the free exchange of ideas through open dialogue, free inquiry, and healthy and robust debate. This is a longstanding priority of our campus, captured by our now-famous language about the importance of “that fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone truth can be found.”
In addition, as a public university, UW–Madison is, as a matter of both law and institutional values, dedicated to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and values freedom of expression as an essential part of its educational mission. As a public institution, we are, in fact, legally obligated to adhere to the First Amendment. (Most private universities are also committed to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but the First Amendment does not apply to them directly because they are not state entities.)