Freedom of Expression and Dissent

Summary of Policy

Freedom of expression and dissent is protected by Dartmouth regulations. 

Affected Parties

All Students

Policy Statement

Freedom of expression and dissent is protected by Dartmouth regulations. Dartmouth prizes and defends the right of free speech and the freedom of the individual to make their own disclosures, while at the same time recognizing that such freedom exists in the context of the law and in responsibility for one's own actions. The exercise of these rights must not deny the same rights to any other individual. The institution therefore both fosters and protects the rights of individuals to express dissent.

Protest or demonstration shall not be discouraged so long as neither force nor the threat of force is used, and so long as the orderly processes of the institution are not deliberately obstructed. Membership in the Dartmouth community carries with it, as a necessary condition, the agreement to honor and abide by this policy.

Guidelines and Considerations for Recognized Undergraduate Student Organizations when Planning a Protest, Demonstration, Vigil, or Appearance by an Outside Speaker

  • Dartmouth seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel encouraged to engage in intellectual and creative pursuits and expects all community members to follow the Principle of Community in their interactions. 
  • Peaceful protests and demonstrations—including marches, rallies, picketing, etc.—and vigils are permitted as long as the orderly processes of the institution are not obstructed (e.g., by causing undue interference with the rights of other members of the Dartmouth community to engage in academic and administrative work). Dartmouth reserves the right to restrict and/or address behaviors that are inconsistent with this expectation.
  • Outdoor gatherings of people, with or without amplified sound, requires a permit (per Hanover Town Ordinance No. 34), which must be requested from the Hanover Town Manager no less than five (5) days prior to the date on which the outdoor activity is to be conducted. Amplified sound is not permitted during business hours. (Outdoor Event Reservation Policy)
  • If planning a protest, demonstration, vigil, or appearance by an outside speaker, one of the following offices must be notified via email: Office of Student Life, Department of Safety and Security, or Conferences and Events. This will allow these relevant offices to coordinate appropriate logistical support to effectively facilitate the event, and plan for minimal disruption to the operations of the institution. At times, College staff may reach out to the planners of an event to discuss safety protocols and logistics. All members of the community are expected to respond and cooperate if contacted. Please note: certain logistical requests require more lead time to procure or execute than others. Please be mindful of your timeliness in event planning and office notification.
  • Dartmouth may place limitations on the time, place, and manner of any speaker event, protest, or demonstration. Some examples include:
    • Place: The College may designate specific areas for activities on campus to occur;
    • Time: The College may restrict the length of time of an event if its continuation after a certain time would interfere with core educational or administrative functions of the College; and/or
    • Manner: The College may restrict the placement or size of signage.
  • Gatherings on campus may require the presence of Safety & Security officers and local law enforcement. A determination of reasonable security staffing will be made in a timely manner by the Director of Safety & Security or designee. Safety and security costs are the responsibility of the group or organization hosting the event/speaker. A best estimate of said costs can be provided to the host(s) with proper notice to, and coordination with, the relevant offices. However, costs are subject to change.
  • Student participants and attendees are expected to not only follow the principles of community but must adhere to all Standards of Conduct outlined here.
  • All College policies must be adhered to, including, but not limited to: Use of the College Green, the Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) Operation Policy, Campus Access Policy for News Media, and the Right to Privacy Policy.

Policy ID


Effective Date

July 1, 2015


Office of the Provost

Office of Primary Responsibility

Office of the Provost

Last Reviewed Date

May 19, 2023

Next Review Date