SUPPORT FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS BY SIGNING ON TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO STATEMENT – Today, FIRE is launching a national campaign asking colleges and universities to adopt the free speech statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago earlier this year. The announcement comes after the Sunday Washington Post published an op-ed by FIRE’s Will Creeley and Geoffrey Stone, the current Dean of the University of Chicago Law School and one of the authors of the statement, urging universities to protect academic freedom and free speech:

Backed by a strong commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom, faculty could challenge one another, their students and the public to consider new possibilities, without fear of reprisal. Students would no longer face punishment for exercising their right to speak out freely about the issues most important to them. Instead of learning that voicing one’s opinions invites silencing, students would be taught that spirited debate is a vital necessity for the advancement of knowledge. And they would be taught that the proper response to ideas they oppose is not censorship, but argument on the merits. That, after all, is what a university is for.

The Chicago statement guarantees “all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn,” and makes clear that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

If you want your alma mater to endorse the free speech statement, I encourage you to sign FIRE’s pledge and write to your alma maters or local institutions. And make sure to check out Geoffrey Stone and Will Creeley’s Sunday Washington Post op-ed.