Freedom of Expression Statement

Introduction

Ambrose University (hereafter referred to as “Ambrose”) is a Christian educational community that combines the study of the arts and sciences with that of theology and ministry, in the quest for wisdom, virtue, and service. While Ambrose receives public funding and provides government approved academic programming, Ambrose is an independent academic institution. Ambrose was founded and is supported by two Christian denominations and strives to remain true to its historical and theological foundations.

As an institution of higher education, Ambrose upholds the principles of freedom of expression and supports the search for truth in an atmosphere of honesty, integrity, and intellectual independence. Ambrose recognizes that the search for truth takes place within a defining context or community. For Ambrose, this community is defined by a commitment to the Christian faith, as set forth in the institutional statements of faith and core values, which are voluntarily embraced by community members. The following principles apply to Board of Governors, administration, faculty, staff, students, and guests who come to the campus.

Principles & Guidelines

In the tradition of the liberal arts, Ambrose upholds the freedom to pursue truth as a valued gift that must be protected. A commitment to advancing truth is a commitment to advancing intellectual excellence rooted in diversity of thought. The search for truth is often difficult and may, at times, give rise to controversy. Ambrose recognizes and encourages diversity of opinion, as well as open and free debate of all aspects of learning, speaking, writing, and listening. Ambrose will not shield students from ideas or opinions with which they disagree; at the same time, Ambrose will cultivate an environment of charity and civility.  

Ambrose’s commitment to freedom of expression extends into the classroom, where respect for human dignity prevails and the principles of academic freedom are practiced. In campus spaces outside of the classroom, Ambrose students, faculty, and staff may participate in discussions at their own discretion.

Ambrose accepts that in certain instances individuals or groups within the community may, for reasons of conscientious conviction, stand in a state of tension either with their colleagues or with broader bodies within the church and society. Such tensions are often a measure of the health and vitality of an academic community.  Ambrose may create space for all ideas and thought, but this does not imply that Ambrose embraces or endorses all of those ideas. Ambrose community members have the right to criticize and question other views expressed on campus but must refrain from obstructing or interfering with other community members’ freedom of expression. It is for individuals to make judgements for themselves and to openly and vigorously contest ideas they oppose, rather than for ideas to be suppressed because they are thought by some to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.   

Free expression is never without limits. Canadian and Albertan law identify the boundaries of expression that apply to campus activities. Ambrose reserves the right to manage the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that such expression does not disrupt ordinary activities on campus, impact the physical safety of its members, violate the law, defame an individual or people group, or constitute a credible threat or harassment that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality of interests. However, this administrative discretion will be exercised in a manner consistent with Ambrose’s overarching commitment to free expression.   

It is the Ambrose community’s collective responsibility to build and protect a respectful institutional culture that advocates responsible free expression in the pursuit of truth. By supporting free expression Ambrose prepares graduates to engage with a complex world.

Concerns regarding activity related to this statement should be directed to the President’s office.