New ACTA Report Tackles Academic Freedom, Speech Codes

May 6, 2013

Last week, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) released its Free to Teach, Free to Learn report (PDF), which it describes as “a guide for trustees, on the dangerous decline of academic freedom and intellectual diversity on campus.”

The report contains important commentary from FIRE co-founders Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors, FIRE Board of Advisors member (and former Harvard University president) Lawrence Summers, and long-time FIRE ally and University of Wisconsin professor Donald Downs on a range of topics, including the American Association of University Professors’ 1915 Declaration of Principles and the Kalven Committee’s Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action.

Also featured in the report are excerpts from FIRE’s Spotlight on Speech Codes 2013 and a list of FIRE’s “red light” schools from the 2011–12 academic year. Kors provides the commentary on FIRE’s report, writing:

Speech codes deny the dignity and strength of meeting speech and expression that one abhors with further speech, reason, evidence, moral outrage, and moral witness. Sunlight, as Justice [Louis] Brandeis observed, not coercion, is the best disinfectant.

FIRE joins ACTA in calling for trustees to abolish speech codes and protect academic freedom on campus. Visit ACTA’s website to read the full report.