Events Policy

Gonzaga University is an exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good. In keeping with its Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic heritage and identity, Gonzaga models and expects excellence in academic and professional pursuits and intentionally develops the whole person -- intellectually, spiritually, culturally, physically, and emotionally.

Through engagement with knowledge, wisdom, and questions informed by classical and contemporary perspectives, Gonzaga cultivates in its students the capacities and dispositions for reflective and critical thought, lifelong learning, spiritual growth, ethical discernment, creativity, and innovation.

To serve these objectives, members of the University community must be free to engage the full range of views on a variety of subjects. They may, therefore, consistent with the processes and standards below, invite speakers to campus and produce events on campus that promote the University’s values, as well as those that express ideas or opinions that are contrary to Catholic doctrines and teachings.

Recognizing that the University’s engagement and cultivation of students occurs communally over time, and its success must not be measured by a single event, the following standards and procedures govern such activities.

  1. Standards
    1. Permission to invite a guest speaker or to host an event for the public on campus may be denied altogether if:
      1. The speech or event would not constitute a legitimate educational experience or otherwise contribute to the University’s mission; or
      2. The speech or event is likely to confuse the public or students about or offend the University’s core values or mission as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic institution by advocating positions or activity contrary to Catholic teachings and the person or group seeking permission refuses to accept provisions for appropriate response or counter-programming; or
      3. There is a substantial risk that the speech or event would conflict with University policies concerning the creation of a hostile learning environment; or
      4. The speech or event poses a substantial risk to the physical safety of members of the University community; or
      5. There is a substantial risk that the speech or event would disrupt classes, obstruct access to campus facilities, or otherwise interfere with other ongoing University events or activities; or
      6. The speech or event would violate the law.
  2. Process
    1. A student or student group wishing to invite a guest speaker to campus or to host an event for the public on campus must follow the policies and procedures adopted by the Vice President for Student Development regarding guest speakers and events. This will require obtaining advance approval from the Vice President for Student Development, so that the standards of paragraph 1 will be applied before any invitation is made.
    2. Because faculty are representatives of the University and implementers of its mission, faculty wishing to invite a guest speaker to campus or to host an event on campus shall seek the advice of colleagues, the most appropriate department chair, and their dean before extending an invitation or planning an event that is likely to confuse the public or students about or offend the University’s core values or mission as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic institution. If the faculty member’s judgment about a speaking invitation or event is questioned, the Academic Vice President shall make the initial determination as to the propriety of the speech or event, in light of the rationale and considerations offered by the faculty supporting the event.
    3. In reviewing any request for a guest speaker or event, the Vice President for Student Development or Academic Vice President may impose conditions to ensure consistency with the standards of paragraph 1. Any decision of the Vice President for Student Development or the Academic Vice President to grant, deny, or condition permission for a guest speaker or event must be provided to the interested parties and may be appealed to the President. The President shall have final authority to grant, deny, or condition usage of University property for any guest speaker or event.
    4. In exercising this authority, the Vice President for Student Development, Academic Vice President, and President shall:

      1. Give due consideration to the standards of paragraph 1; the educational content and value of the proposed speech or event; the degree of faculty involvement in planning the speech or event; the academic or educational context for it; and the amount of co-sponsorship by faculty and campus organizations.
      2. Seek, where possible, modifications to the speech or event that, short of prohibiting it, would address the concerns about it. Such actions may include issuing disclaimers, requiring that a question and answer period immediately follow the speech or event, creating counter programming at a different time, balancing the speech or event with opposing views, changing the date of the speech or event, or otherwise providing appropriate context for those attending
      3. Give the persons and groups supporting or opposing the speech or event an opportunity to be heard.
    5. To avoid unnecessary future conflict and facilitate future decision making by members of the University community, when the President exercises his authority to permit, condition, or deny permission for a guest speaker or event, he shall communicate to the University Community his reasons for doing so in a timely manner.

An invitation to a guest speaker or production of an event does not in any way imply approval, endorsement, or sponsorship by the University or by those making the invitation or planning the event of the views expressed by the speaker or any aspect of the event.

Last Updated: 10/3/17