A Message from the Chair of the Board of Regents on Student Speech

By Kent Schroeder, Chairman, University of Nebraska Board of Regents 
September 28, 2016

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Nebraska:

In recent days you have likely heard reports that there are some who want the Board of Regents to take action against the three student-athletes who kneeled during the national anthem on Saturday.

There have been individual conversations with each member of the Board. I can assure you that we will take no such action.

"There is perhaps no more appropriate space for open and honest dialogue – even dialogue which some of us may find uncomfortable or offensive – than an institution of higher learning."

When regents take our oath of office, we pledge to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Nebraska. Both are clear. All of us enjoy the right to freedom of speech. Board of Regents policy, too, explicitly protects the rights of all members of the university community to make their opinions known. That means students are free to peacefully protest. It also means others are free to criticize those protests.

There is perhaps no more appropriate space for open and honest dialogue – even dialogue which some of us may find uncomfortable or offensive – than an institution of higher learning. At the University of Nebraska, our goal is to prepare our students to live and work in a world in which they will interact with a diverse range of people, including those with whom they will disagree. We would fall short of our mission if we did not expose our students to – and encourage them to participate in – free, passionate and, yes, difficult debate.

The Board of Regents will abide by its long-standing policy and the Constitutions that govern our state and nation. We will not restrict the First Amendment rights of our students, faculty or staff.

Thank you for your many contributions to this great university and the state of Nebraska.


Media Contact
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications, University of Nebraska