September Update from the Academic Freedom Alliance
Promoting the Princeton Principles
Last month, the AFA helped call attention to the release of the Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry, which were issued by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and authored by multiple scholars who are also AFA members. We invited our members to sign the principles, and we’re pleased to report that 32 AFA members did so.
The Princeton Principles affirm the Chicago Principles’ assertions on the importance of free speech while expanding its scope. They argue that universities have a special fiduciary duty to foster freedom of thought for the benefit of the societies that sustain them. Although the principles are known as the Princeton Principles, they are proposed by the signatories in their individual capacities and not by Princeton University or any other academic institution.
It’s not too late to sign the Princeton Principles if you’re interested. To do so, please contact AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at email@example.com.
Confidential Cases Underway
The AFA is continuing to advance our core mission by fighting on behalf of faculty under fire for protected speech. While the details are private, we are active in four cases currently and processing other requests for assistance as they are submitted to us.
As expected, this represents an uptick from the summer months. As the fall semester continues, we ask our members to be on alert for any violations of speech rights or of the core tenets of academic freedom at their universities. Please contact us if you have any concerns.
Conference on Academic Freedom in History and Civics
This weekend, Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida is hosting “The Freedom to Teach: Confronting Complex Themes in Contested Spaces,” a non-partisan conference that seeks to bring history and civics educators together to discuss the challenges of teaching difficult topics. The AFA will be represented at the conference by David Rabban of our Academic Committee, who is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
As the event web page explains, “The event’s objective is to build bridges between these different constituencies, share best practices, outline common tasks, and develop solutions to teaching complicated themes that are based on our shared educational mission.” We’ll aim to remind the audience how central academic freedom is to this shared endeavor.
Continued Membership Growth
Our membership – now 805 strong – continues to reach new heights every month. We’re proud to welcome members from public and private institutions, all academic disciplines, all 50 states, and all across the ideological spectrum. We continue to accept new members on a rolling basis. Please send any nominations to AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.