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Tell your school to adopt institutional neutrality

Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Ready to defend free expression at your college or university? Consider sending this prepared email to your university’s administration, president, or trustees encouraging them to adopt institutional neutrality like HarvardSyracuse, or Purdue. Together, we can encourage university leaders that free speech, viewpoint diversity, and the pursuit of knowledge should be top priorities in higher education. 

We’ve got a draft here ready to be copied and sent. Just make sure to insert your administrator’s name, the college’s name, and your name. You’ll have to find an email address to send the letter to, but luckily, many college leader’s email addresses are publicly available on the college’s website. Feel free to reach out if you’re having trouble to and we’ll do our best to help!

Dear (Administrator Name)

I am writing to ask that (College Name) adopt a commitment to institutional neutrality similar to the Kalven Report. This will allow discourse to flourish at (College Name) and allow students and faculty to engage in debates on contemporary issues, free from institutional pressure.

In recent years, colleges and universities have increasingly weighed in on social and political issues. This has led our institutions of higher education to become politicized and has created an untenable situation where they are expected to weigh in on all social and political issues.

Most critically, sharing institutional stances on these issues risks establishing an orthodox view on campus, chilling the speech of those who disagree. This threatens the pursuit of knowledge that higher education exists to facilitate.

As the University of Chicago’s famous Kalven Report of 1967 argues, a policy of institutional neutrality is premised on the defining mission of the university: to pursue truth through “the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge.” To accomplish this mission, “a university must sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures.”

In recent weeks, Harvard University, Syracuse University, and Stanford University have all adopted an institutional neutrality statement to protect free expression and viewpoint diversity on campus. 

Please take this important step (at College Name) and signal to students and faculty that the (college/university) is a place where all are welcome to share their views and where any idea can be debated without fear. Thank you for your consideration as we strive to make the educational experience at (College Name) the best it can be. 


(Name of Signer)