Alan Charles Kors’ CPAC Speech Posted on Multimedia Page

By March 31, 2009

At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), FIRE Co-founder Alan Charles Kors gave a presentation entitled "Higher Education and the Loss of Liberty." Kors, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has seen numerous cases where illiberal speech policies were forced upon students and faculty members, infringing on their individual rights, which led him to co-write the book The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses in 1998. The Shadow University is a thorough examination of the erosion of liberty on American campuses, and the overwhelming response to it led to the founding of FIRE in 1999.

During his speech, Kors said, "Speech codes are inherently illiberal but they become insufferable by virtue of their intended double standards in practice, without which they could not last for one second." He counted numerous FIRE cases over the past several years where this happened, and he described FIRE’s "Red Alert" list of the institutions which have displayed a severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members: Michigan State University, Colorado College, Brandeis University, Tufts University, and Johns Hopkins University.

Kors also told attendees, "[W]e need to send a different message out, that no one who tells you that you are too weak to live with individual rights and individual responsibility is your friend."