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Managing Disagreements

While Oklahoma State is constitutionally obligated to protect free speech, which includes speech that is offensive and biased, it's important to note this does not mean the university endorses or condones any message by any individual, group, political party or organization. The university understands people are very passionate about their beliefs, values, and identities and sometimes people will say things that are offensive and hateful.


Outlined are some examples of things you can do and some you can’t do if you disagree with someone or his/her viewpoint offends you. The list below is intended to serve as an example and should not be thought of as an all-inclusive list.


Can Do Can't Do
Listen respectfully
Attempt to block speaker's entrance into a location
Host another activity at another location or other time to express your right to free speech
Stage a protest that would interfere with the others right to freedom of speech
Have a calm conversation with the individual as long as it does not interfere with his/her rights
Attempt to prevent the communication of the message by another
Remove yourself from the situation by walking away
Verbally harass the other group
Seek guidance on how to respond by calling the Vice President of Student Affairs Office at (405) 744-5328
Engage in physical violence or other unlawful behavior

In compliance with Oklahoma Senate Bill 361 (codified at 70 O.S. § 2120) and the First Amendment, it is unlawful to materially and substantially disrupt another’s right to free speech. According to 70 O.S. § 2120, this is defined as “when a person with the intent to or with knowledge of doing so, significantly hinders another person’s or group’s expressive activity, prevents the communication of the message or prevents the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering or procession . . . .”


Students alleged of disrupting another person’s free speech will be held accountable for their decisions through the Student Conduct process. Student Code of Conduct Section II, 10 Disruption or Obstruction, includes disruption or obstructing other individuals’ right to express activity as defined by Oklahoma law.

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