A group of 13 college presidents announced the formation of a group to “champion free expression” at their institutions as higher education grapples with free speech issues nationwide, from speakers being shouted down to professors losing jobs over their perceived politics.
The group—known as the Campus Call for Free Expression—is launching a coordinated effort across their campuses to support free speech, according to a press release from The Institute for Citizens & Scholars and the James L. Knight Foundation. The Institute for Citizens & Scholars, a nonprofit, is the coordinating body while the Knight Foundation is providing $250,000 in funding.
The 13 participating institutions are: Benedict College; Claremont McKenna College; Cornell University; DePauw University; Duke University; James Madison University; Rollins College; Rutgers University; University of Notre Dame; University of Pittsburgh; University of Richmond; Wellesley College; and Wesleyan University.
Actions at individual universities will vary. The press release noted that participating institutions will emphasize free expression in orientation, scholarly events, convocation speeches, seminars, trainings and various other activities.
“Higher education plays a crucial role in preparing our young people to thrive and develop the skills necessary to become empowered citizens and leaders of the future,” Rajiv Vinnakota, President of the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, said in a press release announcing the launch of the Campus Call for Free Expression. “This diverse coalition of college presidents—from institutions large and small, private and public—is united in its commitment to ensuring students are civically well-informed, productively engaged, and committed to democracy.”