October 2023

Oct 31, 2023 | Monthly Newsletter

October Update from the Academic Freedom Alliance

The AFA is continuing to fight on behalf of members in academic freedom disputes and we expect to have updates on cases soon. In addition to our casework, here are some other activities from this past month. 

The Latest in Our Interview Series

The AFA’s Howard Muncy sat down for an interview with Professor Ian Morris, the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics at Stanford University. They discussed the AFA and Prof. Morris’ thoughts about threats to academic freedom across various disciplines, including western civilization, the classics, and anthropology. As he put it, “Every discipline faces threats to academic freedom but each faces its own versions.”

According to Prof. Morris, “Academics should demand very compelling reasons before sacrificing the core scholarly value of truth-seeking, no matter how much truth-seeking offends anyone. Instead, many Anthropology departments seem to be moving the same way as my own university, which resolved debates over human remains by getting rid of both of its professors of physical anthropology. That’s how academic freedom dies.”

Spotlight on Bucknell

The AFA is continuing to spotlight other organizations working to promote academic freedom. This month, we shined the light on the Open Discourse Coalition (ODC), which supports the free exchange of ideas at Bucknell University. The ODC is especially interested in supporting activities at Bucknell where students can hear competing views on important topics in a civil manner, such as scholarly debates. 

Open Discourse Coalition only supports programming that provides well-grounded, thoughtful, intellectual viewpoints. In addition to supporting campus events, Open Discourse Coalition supports people and organizations in the Bucknell community who share its values. Its members represent Bucknell graduates in every decade from the 1950’s forward. Those involved with Open Discourse Coalition care deeply about Bucknell University and aspire to further Bucknell’s mission to educate students for a lifetime of critical thinking and strong leadership.

Event Sponsorships

The AFA is cosponsoring two events in the coming weeks. This Thursday, The MIT Free Speech Alliance will be hosting its second debate intended to model civil discourse on controversial issues. Scholars will debate “Is STEM systemically racist” at 8pm ET on 11/2 in MIT’s Wong Auditorium. We’re proud to cosponsor. You can register to attend in person or find the livestream link here

On November 15, we’re cosponsoring The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law’s fall symposium on free speech and civility in legal education and practice. Speakers at the event will include prominent jurists, scholars, and non-profit leaders, including former Solicitor General of the United States Paul Clement and FIRE president and CEO Greg Lukianoff. Find out more here.

Continued Growth
We added 13 new members in October, bringing us to a total of 818. We continue to accept new members on a rolling basis. Please send any nominations to AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at hmuncy@academicfreedom.org.

In addition to our membership growth, we also reached a new milestone on X (formerly Twitter) by surpassing 4,000 followers

As we continue to expand our membership and casework, we’re grateful to everyone who has donated to our organization and hope all of our members and friends will consider contributing here. We could not do our work without your generous support. 

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.