Guidelines for Wagner-Invited Speaker Invitations
These guidelines are intended to convey the sense of the faculty with respect to invitations extended by the School and members of the School community to outside speakers. They build on the University’s Guidelines for Administrative Implementation of NYU Policies on Speech, Speakers, and Dissent and Guidelines Regarding Protest and Dissent.
I: Invitations from the School in its Institutional and Collective Capacity
This section describes our intended practices with respect to invitations from the School in its institutional and collective capacity (named lectures, Debates of the Century, Dean’s invited speakers, Convocation speakers, etc.).
As a school of public service, it is part of our role to expose our students to a broad range of views, even if those views make them uncomfortable. We believe that students should, while they are in a relatively safe environment, learn about and become ready to respond to controversial or heterodox views that are part of some policy debates, so that they will be better able to engage with these views once they have graduated. At the same time, we do not believe that it is appropriate or desirable for us to invite speakers who refuse to engage with alternative views, who do not back up their positions with factual evidence, or who will be blatantly disrespectful to our community. So while we invite vigorous debate, we do not seek speakers who would use our platform primarily to titillate or provoke by airing divergent views.
With these goals in mind:
- For most events, the School (as an institution) will invite speakers (whether or not they hold views that some might consider controversial) only if they are willing to take questions and engage respectfully with interlocutors and with the audience (panels, lectures with Q&A, etc.). Questions may be filtered through a moderator to ensure appropriateness and avoid grand-standing.
- For events where event circumstances make such engagement impossible (e.g. Convocation), we intend to select speakers who:
- Have had a substantial, visible, and positive effect on public service or scholarship on public service; and
- Can reasonably be expected to address the audience respectfully.
We intend to be more sensitive about the nature of speakers in these circumstances both because there is no opportunity for response or engagement, and because the principal purpose of such events is celebratory and so should reflect as much of our community as possible. We recognize, however, that given the wide diversity of opinion that exists within our community, it may be impossible to identify appropriate speakers who are acceptable to every member of our community.
II: Guest Speakers Invited to Classes by Faculty
Faculty have the right and freedom to invite whomever they wish to address their classes. Faculty are responsible for maintaining a respectful and civil atmosphere in their classrooms.
Faculty may not admit non-registered students to class without specific and express permission, on an individual-by-individual basis, from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This includes individuals invited by guest speakers or members of the media.
Faculty may not stream or disseminate classes to wider audiences without the express permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
If a faculty member has any reason to believe that there could be a security risk associated with a guest speaker invitation, the faculty member should bring this possibility to the immediate attention of the Chief of Staff. NYU Wagner reserves the right to change the location (or in an extreme situation, format) of a class to accommodate genuine safety concerns, as long as all registered students will still have the opportunity to hear from the guest speaker.
III: Guest Speakers Invited by Faculty outside the Class Context
The use of Wagner space for relevant events sponsored by faculty is a privilege extended to Wagner faculty, conditional on space availability and security concerns. All events at Puck that are open to guests outside the NYU community must use the Wagner event registration system for all invitees. This includes any additional guests that speakers may want to invite to such events. Any media invites to events (whether by faculty sponsors or speakers) must be coordinated with Office of External Affairs (OEA).
Faculty sponsors reserving space in the Puck building for an event involving outside speakers must let the OEA know if you have the slightest reason to believe there might be a security concern around a speaker (either because of boisterous supporters or opponents). We will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate speakers who might incite controversy. However, the physical security and safety of our community must be paramount. We reserve the right to move or cancel an event if, in the opinion of NYU Public Safety, we cannot adequately protect the safety of our community at a reasonable cost.
If a faculty member fails to alert OEA to a situation where one could reasonably anticipate a security risk, we reserve the right to withdraw that person’s privileges for using Wagner common space.
IV: Guest Speakers Invited by Student Groups
The use of Wagner space for events sponsored by student groups is a privilege extended to our students, conditional on space availability and security concerns.
Student groups must inform their faculty adviser or the Assistant Director of Student Activities before reserving space in the Puck building for an event involving outside speakers. Faculty advisers/Assistant Director for Student Activities must inform OEA if there are any potential security concerns around an event. We will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate speakers who might incite controversy despite these concerns. However, the physical security and safety of our community must be paramount. We reserve the right to move or cancel an event if, in the opinion of NYU Public Safety, we cannot adequately protect the safety of our community at a reasonable cost.
All events at Puck that are open to guests outside the NYU community must use the Wagner event registration system for all invitees. This includes any additional guests that speakers may want to invite to such events. Any media invites to events must be coordinated with OEA.
If a student group fails to consult its faculty adviser or the Assistant Director for Student Activities prior to reserving space, we reserve the right to withdraw that group’s privileges for using Wagner common space.