University Sponsorship and/or Endorsement of Speakers and Programs

April 2024

In keeping with its commitment to academic discourse and the free exchange of ideas, speakers and other individuals may be invited or allowed to participate in programs on the Princeton University campus, including virtual events.  Such programs may be organized by academic departments or faculty members, administrative units, or student organizations.

University entities are given wide latitude to organize programs, invite speakers, request or allocate funding, and reserve space on campus in accordance with their missions.  The University’s provision of resources for organizing programs does not constitute an institutional endorsement of the specific speakers or views expressed; it rather conforms to the University’s commitment to “free and open inquiry in all matters” (Rights, Rules, Responsibilities 1.1.3). Requests for funding or other resources are granted in accordance with University policies and procedures, including the Guidelines Relating to Political Activities and Acceptable Use Policy.  Learn more about Princeton’s commitment to freedom of expression

When a University entity participates in supporting a program or event, its level of involvement may vary:

  • A sponsor or co-sponsor designation means that the recognized University entity is an event host, involved with the logistical operations of the event, and ready to answers any questions about the event. This designation also indicates that generally each sponsor or co-sponsor will have a representative on site during the duration of the event. 
  • A contributor designation means that the recognized University entity or a non-University entity is contributing funds or in-kind resources (i.e., food, supplies, space, etc.) but does not play an organizational role.
  • At times, University entities may disseminate information (i.e., distribute event information electronically or post flyers) without playing another organizational role. This limited role does not constitute either sponsorship or contribution as defined above. 

Participation by University entities as sponsors, contributors or disseminators of information does not constitute an institutional endorsement of the specific program, speaker or views presented.  All posters, website ads, and social media posts, etc., advertising events or activities involving University sponsors and/or contributors must include the following disclaimer: "Contributions to and/or sponsorship of any event does not constitute departmental or institutional endorsement of the specific program, speakers or views presented." The University reserves the right to withdraw its support and take other appropriate measures whenever promotional materials fail to include the referenced disclaimer.

In specific:

  • In keeping with the principle of academic freedom, faculty members and academic departments may use University funds and reserve space in order to invite speakers, organize programs, and/or provide funding for programs in conjunction with their scholarly interests. There are additional considerations when a program involves political activity or a speaker is a candidate for elective public office, and the appropriate administrative office should be consulted (e.g., Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Graduate School, Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Office of the Executive Vice President, Office of the General Counsel). The provision of University resources does not constitute a University endorsement of the content of the program, the participants, or the views expressed.
  • Student organizations may request and receive funding and space from University entities based on policies and procedures established by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the Graduate School. These policies and procedures are viewpoint neutral. The provision of University resources by a University sponsor or contributor does not constitute a University endorsement of the content of the program, the participants, or the views expressed. Click here for more information about relevant policies and procedures. 
  • In keeping with co-curricular goals and departmental mission, University administrative offices may be involved in organizing programs – e.g., serve as a sponsor or contributor. When a University office sponsors or contributes a program, the administrators involved must follow all applicable University Policies and procedures, including relating to inclusivity and free expression. 
  • ODUS does not permit student organizations to co-sponsor events or activities with non-university entities. In some instances, space on campus can be rented by organizations not affiliated with Princeton. Visit Conference and Event Services for more information. The rental of University space to a non-affiliated organization does not constitute a University endorsement of content of the program, the participants, or the views expressed.
  • The University’s “Special Event Support and Coordination Committee” is often called upon to connect event sponsors with available resources to support their programming, and help them navigate the logistics involved in preparing for and hosting large-scale events. This Committee seeks to uphold the University’s mission, goals, and values, including its robust commitments to free speech and inclusivity; efficiently marshal and steward resources; and ensure stronger coordination among the program sponsor and departments offering support services.
  • In instances where a University department is co-sponsoring an event with a student group and an unaffiliated organization, the University department, not the student group, is ultimately responsible for understanding, articulating, and enforcing policies related to events.