Cultivating the Marketplace of Ideas at UNE

UNE cultivates a lively, respectful Marketplace of Ideas based on our belief that only through good faith and rational inquiry can we uncover new truths and advance our common human condition. This process also allows us to identify wrong, false, or harmful propositions that must be discarded.

We’ve developed the following principles to promote this marketplace at UNE while also maintaining the spirit of mutual respect and support that makes our community so unique.

Freedom of Expression

We affirm the right of individuals to freely express themselves. This includes individuals whose views we may not personally agree with. We believe that the free expression of multiple viewpoints creates the most fertile conditions for building knowledge.

We recognize acts of protest as free expression, even as we understand that protest should not curtail the freedom of those with opposing viewpoints. We also vigorously defend long-standing traditions of academic freedom that empower educators to bring their full experience and knowledge to bear in the classroom.

Viewpoint Diversity and Open Inquiry

We believe that exposure to a broad range of diverse viewpoints provides the crucible through which ideas can be explored and advanced, affirmed, or discarded.

We believe that the merits of any idea can best be assessed in a spirit of transparency and openness.

We have confidence in our community to use care, compassion, and discernment when examining topics about which there is known sensitivity or an extreme polarization of viewpoints.

Respectful Debate

How we deliver our words is as important as the words we speak. Kindness and mutual support are hallmarks of the UNE community, and it is especially important that we maintain those values when engaging in critical debate or academic argument. Constructive discourse requires mutual respect, the assumption of good intentions, and close listening.

Personal attacks and bad-faith or straw-man arguments have no place at UNE. We debate ideas based on their individual merits, and even when confronted with disruptive perspectives and surprising data, we pursue truth through this focus on ideas.

The project of advancing human knowledge requires a sense of shared goals, and we believe that we are all, together, engaged in the serious work of trying to make the world a better place for everyone.

Why It Matters

Embracing open inquiry and viewpoint diversity teaches us all to grapple with challenging — and sometimes controversial — ideas and to better appreciate the richness of humanity. With these tools, students will be better able to successfully navigate and evaluate the constant barrage of information they will encounter throughout their lives. This ability to assess, analyze, and synthesize multiple viewpoints is a cornerstone of academic investigation, leading to creative thinking and innovative solutions that add to the sum of useful human knowledge.

Exploring Boundaries: A Practice in Courage and Humility

To be clear, promoting a Marketplace of Ideas does not mean that we abandon any limits to what ideas are welcome in our community.

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