Thursday, January 20, 2022
University of Iowa Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Update:  Thursday, February 3, 2022

Free speech and challenging conversations program details

As the University of Iowa campus community values conversation and skill-building, voluntary educational opportunities are being offered to complement the Board of Regents’ training.

Required training:

The Board of Regents and Iowa’s public universities are committed to supporting the principles of free expression guaranteed by the First Amendment for all members of our campus community. The first step in creating a campus environment where different viewpoints are welcome is to understand the basic principles of First Amendment rights to free expression.  

The Board and the universities created a 15–20-minute training module to assist members of the campus community in better understanding rights to free expression.  All faculty, staff and students are expected to complete this training prior to the end of the Spring 2022 semester.  Your participation in this training is important to our continued commitment to providing an educational, living and working environment that protects the First Amendment rights of all members of the campus community. 

Faculty and staff should go to https://compliance.hr.uiowa.edu/my_compliances and select First Amendment Training.  They can also access their compliances from HR Self-Service. 

Voluntary panel conversations:

Curious about University of Iowa-specific policies and expectations of free speech on campus? Two opportunities to experience a virtual panel are available.  Each panel will feature free speech experts from the Office of Institutional Equity, the College of Law, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Office of the Ombudsperson. If you are a faculty or staff member, click here to register for a panel. If you are a student, email ddei-iesi@uiowa.edu to register. 

Voluntary workshops:

Interested in diving deeper into inclusive practices for dialogue and debate? An interactive workshop facilitated by experts from Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives, the OTLT Center for Teaching, the Division of Student Life, and the Iowa Program for Public Life will be offered six times.  Each workshop will offer opportunities to practice specific skills and explore scenarios related to free speech. If you are a faculty or staff member, click here to register for a workshop. If you are a student, email ddei-iesi@uiowa.edu to register.  

Panel and workshop schedule:
Date Program Time
Wed. Feb. 16, 2022 Panel Conversation  Noon to 1 p.m.
Thurs. Feb. 17, 2022 Workshop  3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 22, 2022 Workshop    9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Fri. Mar. 3, 2022 Workshop    8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Wed. Mar. 9, 2022 Panel Conversation 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Mon. Mar. 21, 2022 Workshop 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Fri. Apr. 1, 2022 Workshop 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Thurs. Apr. 7, 2022 Workshop 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives in advance at 319-353-2388 or ddei-iesi@uiowa.edu. 

UI online resources:

Want to learn more? Additional information and resources about free speech, navigating difficult conversations, and creating inclusive environments are available on the University of Iowa’s Free Speech website.

Additional online resources:

Original announcement:

University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to participate in a new program focused on free speech and navigating challenging conversations starting in mid-February. The program was established by the Office of the President and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DDEI), in partnership with the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (OTLT) Center for Teaching, and several campus stakeholders.

This voluntary, customized program will complement the upcoming free speech training through the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and will assist UI community members in:

  • Identifying and navigating situations involving free speech. ­­
  • Applying various institutional values/policies/definitions across campus.
  • Negotiating potentially contradictory values/policies.
  • Acknowledging and caring for those directly targeted or impacted by harmful speech.

The new program takes a three-pronged approach.

The first component addresses questions and policies, expected process, and overall guardrails of free speech. Two online panels will feature experts from the Office of Institutional Equity, the College of Law, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Office of the Ombudsperson. Participants will learn about policies and expectations related to free speech, how to identify if a situation needs to be reported based on a policy or values violation, and how to locate resources for consultation or report possible violations.

The second component will be an interactive workshop in which participants will practice specific skills and scenarios related to free speech. Facilitators include experts from Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives, the OTLT Center for Teaching, the Division of Student Life, and the Iowa Program for Public Life.

Participants will be able to implement inclusive practices for dialogue and debate, quickly identify free speech-associated situations, apply practical strategies for addressing controversial topics, and identify resources to consult with, track, and report possible violations.

The third component will enhance resources on the University of Iowa’s free speech website.

You can register for the panels and workshops through the Learning and Development section of Employee Self-service. Any questions or concerns can be directed to
ddei-contact@uiowa.edu.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives in advance at 319-353-2388 or ddei-iesi@uiowa.edu.