CBS adopts resolution on freedom of expression
Photo: Kasper Kristoffersen
CBS now has an official resolution to guide staff and students, giving them a solid foundation in matters concerning the freedom of research, teaching, debate and expression.
Senior Management and the Academic Council jointly drew up the resolution that the CBS Board of Directors has just approved and that will serve as a guideline for CBS in the future.
“It was a valuable and meticulous process. Now we have clearly stated value-based principles that will help ensure that all members of the CBS community have the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn. We believe that knowledge is best advanced through free and open-minded inquiry and that there must be room for the open discussion of competing ideas and conflicting opinions,” explains Hvidkjær.
Inclusion and diversity
Hvidkjær adds that inclusiveness has also been an important value in the discussions leading to the resolution on freedom of expression.
“CBS deeply values inclusiveness, diversity, civility and mutual respect. At the same time, CBS will not seek to limit speech on the grounds that others experience such speech as offensive. Controversies over free expression are opportunities for learning rather than occasions for disciplinary action,” asserts the dean. He continues by emphasising that freedom of expression also comes with responsibility:
“I believe that freedom of expression is alive and well at CBS, but we cannot take it for granted and everyone has responsibility for building and maintaining it. Now we have a shared foundation for staff and students that we can build on.”
At the same time CBS is putting the final touches on a document that will correspondingly support the school’s researchers and help define the framework for good research communication.
CBS Freedom of Expression Resolution
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Danish constitution as well as international human rights instruments ratified by Denmark. In addition, academic freedom is guaranteed by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Copenhagen Business School cherishes this freedom as the foundation for open dialogue and discussions of diverse ideas and viewpoints. Indeed, knowledge is best advanced through free and open-minded inquiry and the open discussion of competing ideas. For these reasons, CBS strives to ensure that all members of the CBS community have the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.
CBS’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by others to be disagreeable or offensive. It is for the individual members of the CBS community, not for CBS as an institution, to make judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly contesting the ideas that they oppose. It is not the role of CBS to attempt to shield individuals inside or outside CBS from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, wrong, or offensive.
At the intersection of our commitment to free expression and our community values lies the expectation of an inclusive learning and working environment. CBS deeply values inclusiveness, diversity, civility, and mutual respect. At the same time, CBS will not seek to limit speech on the grounds that others experience such speech as offensive. Controversies over free expression are opportunities for learning rather than occasions for disciplinary action.
As a corollary to CBS’s commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the CBS community must also act in conformity with the present resolution. Although anyone is free to criticize and contest the ideas of others, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express ideas they reject. To this end, CBS has a solemn responsibility not only to promote freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom for members of our community when others from within or outside CBS attempt to restrict it.
Part of this document has been adapted from the FIRE resolution and from the proposed “MIT Statement on Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom”.