Coalition of major US universities launch campaign to protect campus free speech

The "Campus Call for Free Expression" has been embraced by a wide range of institutions, including Duke, Cornell, Notre Dame, and Rutgers.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
A new campaign has been launched by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars alongside the presidents of 13 colleges and universities across the United States with the goal of protecting academic freedom against those who seek to replace it with a system that coddles students and shields them from opposing viewpoints

The "Campus Call for Free Expression" has been embraced by a wide range of institutions, including Duke, Cornell, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and the University of Pittsburgh.

According to the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, the campaign is "a commitment by a diverse group of college presidents to urgently spotlight, uplift, and re-emphasize the principles of critical inquiry and civic discourse on their campuses."

The goal is to ensure that students leave institutes of higher learning with the ability to challenge their beliefs, entertain ideas that cause them discomfort, and "reach informed decisions based on evidence and reasoned analysis." Also mentioned is a need to instill in students a sense of civic responsibility and a desire to "advocate for positive change."

"Colleges and universities are among the few places in the United States today where people from remarkably different backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies come together to wrestle with the complexity of what it means to be a democratic community," the institute said in a statement.

"Underlying the Campus Call is the belief that higher education plays a critical role in preparing students to thrive and lead as empowered citizens and leaders of the future. This preparation is not easy, but it is essential. It requires an openness to all ideas and the skills to respectfully listen to, learn from, and work with people with diverse perspectives."

Each partner institution has the ability to promote the aforementioned ideals in any way they see fit. While some have opted to plan yearlong campaigns on free expression, others are set to hold free speech training sessions for incoming students or host debates on the topic.

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