COLLEGES + UNIVERSITIES

Expert says interpreting Cox’s directive to Utah’s university presidents will be difficult

Dec 6, 2023, 1:00 PM

FILE - The Utah State Board of Education is pictured in Salt Lake City. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret New...

FILE - The Utah State Board of Education is pictured in Salt Lake City. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Spencer Cox issued a directive that Utah’s university presidents remain neutral on political issues. 

Cox announced the directive during a news conference with the Utah State Board of Education. The governor’s statement said he “does not care” what their opinions are on prominent political issues. 

“We don’t need our institutions to take positions on these things,” Cox added. 

Each Utah college and university has until June 1, 2024, to “draft individual resolutions,” according to Leah Murray, the director of the Walker Institute of Politics at Weber State University. 

“Often the definition of protected speech [is] political speech,” said Murray. 

She added that the writers of each university’s resolution will have to determine what political speech is or is not protected under the First Amendment. 

“Parsing out what it means is gonna be hard,” said Murray. 

Murray added that part of her job is teaching students how to have dialogues with those who hold different views. 

Sometimes, according to Murray, she cultivates those conversations through dialogue with her students. Other times, the school invites speakers to present to the students. 

“The way that I initially had heard this was that administrative units on campus could not take a position, right? So it’s the idea of being institutionally neutral,” said Murray. 

She said that Cox’s directive raised questions about how universities can engage their students in political discourse. 

Related: The role university leaders play in promoting free speech

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Colleges + Universities

The block U appears on the University of Utah, the school will no longer require sat or act scores...

Heather Peterson

University of Utah indefinitely pauses SAT and ACT admissions requirements

The University of Utah paused its SAT and ACT requirements two years ago, but the policy has now been extended indefinitely.

21 hours ago

Shane Romano and Sami Sowers take a rest in the shade at Sunnyside Park in Salt Lake City, Tuesday,...

Mark Jackson

SLC Council considering proposal to lease section of neighborhood park to University of Utah

SLC Council is considering a proposal to lease a little over an acre of Sunnyside Park to the University of Utah for a new baseball stadium.

2 days ago

Sour gummy worms colored in red, green, yellow, and blue...

Mariah Maynes

Can sour candy ease anxiety and panic attacks?

Experts say a TikTok trend where people suck on sour candy to ease anxiety or panic attacks, can work.  

4 days ago

University graduates are pictured on Thursday, April 27, 2023....

Britt Johnson

Utah out-paces most of the country in college enrollment

Utah had a 4.3% college enrollment growth for Fall 2023 and is the second highest in the country. Montana is in first place with 7.1% growth.

6 days ago

The block U appears on the University of Utah, the school will no longer require sat or act scores...

Mariah Maynes

Policy brief shows higher education benefits for individuals, communities

According to the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, economic data shows that the completion of higher education benefits individuals and their communities. 

9 days ago

NIL contracts hearing...

Adam Small

Bill to block public access to NIL contracts advances in Utah Legislature

Rep. Jordan Teuscher says student-athlete NIL contracts should stay private because they don't involve government entities.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Expert says interpreting Cox’s directive to Utah’s university presidents will be difficult