Last month, Texas’s Ranger College became the latest institution to endorse a free speech policy statement modeled after the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”).
On May 14, Ranger College’s Board of Regents voted to endorse the Freedom of Expression Resolution, which commits the college to upholding the free speech rights of all members of the campus community. The Resolution, which largely echoes the language of the Chicago Statement, is the first of its kind to be adopted in the state of Texas. “In a word, Ranger College’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the Ranger College community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed,” the statement declares.
Ranger College Vice President Jennifer Kent is hopeful that the Resolution will improve the state of discourse and debate on campus. “At Ranger College, we realized that, despite our small size, we had a big opportunity to make a positive impact by revamping our policies regarding freedom of speech, expression, and assembly,” she told FIRE last week. “We believe the adoption of the Chicago Statement by our Board of Regents, along with the new local policies, sends a clear message regarding our convictions towards fundamental rights. Our president, Dr. William Campion, fully supported our efforts and was instrumental in the process leading to the Board’s adoption.”
FIRE wholeheartedly agrees that adoption of a policy statement that prizes robust debate sends a clear message to faculty, students, alumni, and others that exercise of First Amendment freedoms are not only protected, but encouraged on campus. We commend Ranger College for taking this positive step, and suggest that other colleges and universities do likewise.
Interested in advocating for a free speech statement to be adopted on your campus? Contact us today!