UNH President Mark W. Huddleston – Setting the Record Straight on Speech

by Steve MacDonald

A formal Statement from the UNH President on the “Bais Free Language Guide”, UNH Policy Regarding speech, and addressing the UNH Web presence moving forward.

UNH Institutional Mark

Good afternoon,

By now you will have seen press coverage of a language “guide” published on our website in 2013 by a small group of UNH faculty, students and staff. Some coverage of this “guide” has portrayed it as a statement of university policy. I want to make clear that it is NOT the case.

As I said yesterday, the views expressed in the guide are not and never have been the policy of the University of New Hampshire. The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses. Unfortunately, what was probably a well-meaning effort to be “sensitive” has proven offensive to many people, myself included. While I fully support the principles of equity and diversity at UNH, this was not the way to promote it. Speech guides or codes have no place at any American university.

The “guide” has been removed from our website. I have also ordered a review of UNH’s web posting policies. I was surprised to learn yesterday, when this “guide” was first brought to my attention, that the university has more than one million web pages on its site. I was also surprised–and unhappy–to learn that the university has not had policies in place that would make clear which UNH-hosted web pages reflect official UNH positions and policies and which pages include content that simply reflects the opinions of some members of our community.

I have appreciated hearing from many of you about this issue, and recognize that you are also hearing from constituents expressing their concerns. I hope this message helps to clarify the genesis of this matter as well as the steps we are taking to address it.


Mark W. Huddleston


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