The governing faculty body at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted last week to endorse a free speech policy statement based on the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”). In doing so, UNC - Chapel Hill joins 36 other like-minded institutions that have chosen to prioritize free speech by adopting a principled statement on free expression.
Affirming the importance of debate and discourse on its campus, the faculty council’s resolution “On Principles for the Promotion and Protection of Free Speech” seeks to memorialize the university’s overarching commitment to free expression. Indeed, the statement of principles serves to complement UNC - Chapel Hill’s written policies on free speech, which earn FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating.
With this resolution, the faculty council endeavors to encourage the university community to engage in “the production and dissemination of knowledge through open inquiry and the fearless exchange of a wide-range of ideas.” This robust exchange of ideas — although oftentimes challenging — is the hallmark of a university.
The resolution states:
The ability to speak freely, debate vigorously, and engage deeply with differing viewpoints is the bedrock of our aspirations at Carolina.
Through calm waters and rough, the mission of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is advanced by our commitment to aspirational principles that guide our public conversation no matter how unsettling. By reaffirming a commitment to full and open inquiry, robust debate, and civil discourse we also affirm the intellectual rigor and open-mindedness that our community may bring to any forum where difficult, challenging, and even disturbing ideas are presented.
FIRE is pleased to see the faculty council at UNC - Chapel Hill embrace these values, which are so critical to a vibrant university community. Interested in advocating for a free speech statement on your campus? Contact us today!