May 2023

May 31, 2023 | Monthly Newsletter

May Update from the Academic Freedom Alliance

We hope everyone had a successful end to their spring semester. As we enter the summer months, the AFA will remain active and engaged, continuing to fund cases and monitor any new academic freedom controversies on campuses. While much of this work takes place behind the scenes, below is a partial list of our public activities from the past month. 

The Latest In Our Interview Series

This month, we released an interview with Professor Steven Pinker, the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, as part of our regular series of conversations with leading scholars on academic freedom issues. Prof. Pinker shared his views on the newly minted Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard University and on the importance of the academic freedom movement in general. 

As Prof. Pinker stated, “If you disable that process [of inquiry and debate] by making the expression of opinions illegal, then you have crippled the process by which we can understand our world and therefore have put a brake on the possibility of human progress. Academic freedom, in other words, it is not just an individual entitlement. It is not just that professors have the right to say whatever they want, but rather that the whole reason that we have universities and scientific societies, and for that matter a free press, is that when a range of opinions can be expressed, the better that they can be evaluated.”

Spotlight on UNC

This month, the AFA spotlighted the launch of the UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance (UNC AFSA), which is composed of UNC alumni and supporters dedicated to advancing education by defending free speech, open inquiry, academic freedom, transparency, and viewpoint diversity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The UNC AFSA was formed in March 2022 as part of the national AFSA organization. Its activities include speaking out in support of free speech and against groups that attempt to stifle expression, hosting events and debates that promote free speech, and defending faculty and students whose free speech is threatened.

Expanding Membership
This month, our membership grew to 762 members. We continue to accept new members on a rolling basis. Please send any nominations to AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at

Learn More About the Academic Freedom Alliance

No one, at any academic institution, should fear suppression or retaliation for speaking out publicly in any form. We encourage you to join the movement in supporting the flourishing of intellectual life and the pursuit of knowledge and truth at institutions of higher learning.