Advocacy and Statements of Support

The Dean’s Office encourages and supports efforts to remain engaged citizens in the communities and on the issues that matter to our faculty, departments, and programs.

The UNL Faculty Senate Professional Ethics Statement makes it clear that there is an important demarcation with respect to our individual and collective engagement and advocacy:

Faculty members have the same rights and obligations as other residents in the wider community. They measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As participants in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty members have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

As you interact with individuals and officials external to the university, please remain aware of the need to make it clear that you are offering your time as a private citizen, albeit one who may have skills and insights that could contribute to common goals. 

If you feel that there should be a response that involves the use of university space or facilities, or that demonstrates the unity of the faculty, in the department, in the college, in the university, please contact the dean, an associate dean, or the director of marketing and communication to begin discussions.

In considering whether a public statement should be made utilizing university assets, the Dean’s Office will consider, in consultation with faculty, staff, and unit leadership, the following types of questions:

  • Will the university or the NU system be providing a statement on this topic? What if any guidance has the university/system leadership provided on this topic?
  • Is the topic or issue directly related to the unit or college’s mission, purpose, and goals?
  • Is the topic or issue related to an element of the unit or college’s strategic plan?
  • Can the unit or college address this topic in a non-partisan manner and in a way that supports intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, and recognizes a diversity of views?

The Dean’s Office can be helpful in finding creative solutions to unique situations within units as they seek to follow these principles and best practices. In many cases the recommended approach will be for individual faculty and staff or groups of like-minded faculty and staff to issue a statement in their own names and through non-university-owned assets.

If your area decides to post a statement on its website or social media channels, which are considered assets of the university, please consider the college’s best practices.

Statement Best Practices

  • If a statement is being made as a public expression of the commitments and values of a unit in the college, all of the members of that unit should be included in the consideration and expression of that statement.
  • If there is a written record of the statement, the college suggests that each person who endorses the statement print or sign their name on it.
  • Statements on sites or social platforms representing the university should align with university messaging (websites and social accounts are university assets).
  • Date the statement.
  • The dean and director of marketing and communication of the college should be notified when a statement is being added to a website or shared on a social platform representing a unit in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Statement Format on a Website with a URL

There are two ways for areas to post statements on websites.

About pages
The college prefers that areas post full statements on their About pages. The statements should be placed after content that describes the area. When a new statement is made, a banner on the Home page under the header image would be added to draw attention and link to the full statement. The Home page message would then be removed after a period of time.

  • Example: the Department of Philosophy's website.
    Home, About

Standalone webpages
Areas can use a standalone web page to post statements, and they can use a 'summarizing' block/section on their About and/or Home page (that lists and links to statements) so that website visitors can find the statements. When a new statement is made, a banner on the Home page under the header image would be added to draw attention and link to the full statement. The Home page message would then be removed after a period of time. A link to the statement page would be house on About for later access to the page.


Mark Button

Director of Marketing and Communication
Terri Pieper