Office of the President
Dear [TITLE] [LAST NAME]:
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a member of the class of 20[XX] at [YOUR INSTITUTION]. As a student, I have a great interest in improving the state of free expression on our campus. In order to do so, I urge you to adopt a policy statement committing [YOUR INSTITUTION] to upholding the free speech rights and academic freedom of its students and faculty members.
Fortunately, I am able to recommend a model policy statement for your administration to consider, the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”). The Chicago Statement is an eloquent and concise policy statement endorsing free inquiry and discussion, noting 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.”
The modern university campus is an essential place for discourse; as the Supreme Court of the United States has stated: “For the University, by regulation, to cast disapproval on particular viewpoints of its students risks the suppression of free speech and creative inquiry in one of the vital centers for the nation’s intellectual life, its college and university campuses.” In order to promote the “marketplace of ideas” on our campus, I hope your administration will consider adopting a principled statement on free expression modeled after the Chicago Statement.
To date, over 40 administrations and faculty bodies have adopted a version of the Chicago Statement. [YOUR INSTITUTION] would similarly benefit from adopting a free speech policy statement, as it would allow the school to foster free and open debate in the tradition of the First Amendment. Of course, I would be proud to see [YOUR INSTITUTION] be a leader on this important issue.
The more you customize your letter or email, the more effective it will be. You may want to elaborate why the Chicago Statement is particularly important to you and your campus community. Include in your letter or email a link to the Chicago Statement, which can be found here.