Doesn't free speech mean I can say whatever I want wherever I want, even if it offends someone?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees certain rights to citizens, including free speech, a free press, and freedom of religion. Students, employees, and visitors of the University of Minnesota benefit from these rights as do all persons in the United States. However, courts have long recognized that the exercise of these rights is not infringed when the state adopts reasonable restrictions to protect the rights of other members of the community. For example, there are limits on the hours in which sound amplification may be used on Northrop Mall in order to permit classes, studies, and work to proceed without unreasonable disturbance. Public employees possess constitutional protections in their employment that private employees do not have, but the courts apply different standards to employee speech that does not involve matters of public concern. The University community must be alert to protect these rights and not unconstitutionally restrict them. If you have a question as to whether an action you propose to take on behalf of the University may implicate these issues, contact the Office of the General Counsel before acting.