Spotlight

The Academic Freedom Alliance is proud to join other notable groups in the movement to defend academic freedom on campus. Other organizations who are active in protecting and advancing academic freedom include:

Open Discourse Coalition

Open Discourse Coalition is a Pennsylvania non-profit that supports the free exchange of ideas at Bucknell University. It is especially interested in supporting activities at Bucknell where students can hear competing views on important topics in a civil manner. 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.

UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance

The UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance (UNC AFSA) is comprised 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.

The Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard

The Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard (CAFH) is a membership organization open to all members of the Harvard faculty who support free inquiry, intellectual diversity, and civil discourse. Founded in April 2023, the CAFH plans to organize workshops, invite lecturers, and teach courses related to academic freedom. When necessary, it will hold the university accountable to its stated principles and will speak up when those principles are violated. It will also provide solidarity with Harvard scholars who are threatened with penalty because of their speech. CAFH counts multiple AFA members among its leadership, including Jeffrey Flier, Jeannie Suk Gersen, Jane Kamensky, and Steven Pinker.

 

MIT Free Speech Alliance

The MIT Free Speech Alliance (MFSA) was founded by a group of MIT Alumni in late 2021 following the cancellation of a scientific lecture by University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot, after Abbot’s unrelated writings on campus diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives prompted criticism. The MFSA hopes to build positively on the aftermath of this controversy by supporting free expression-oriented programming at MIT and working proactively with the administration to foster a stronger culture of free expression. MFSA also actively supports the adoption of speech-protective policies and measures at MIT, and supported the passage of the Statement on Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom adopted by the MIT faculty in December 2022.

The Classical Liberalism Initiative of the Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford’s Classical Liberalism Initiative is devoted to the study of classical liberal institutions and the interactions among individuals, corporations, markets, government, and civic institutions in a free society. CLI seeks to foster an open intellectual environment where all arguments and ideas are critically examined. It does so, in part, through hosting Classical Liberalism Seminars featuring notable voices from across academia and public life. It also hosted an Academic Freedom Conference in 2022 that featured faculty across the country.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)

FIRE has been central to the defense of campus free speech since its inception in 1999. It educates students and faculty about the importance of their First Amendment rights, undertakes a range of research and advocacy efforts, and provides legal and financial assistance in support of campus speech. Originally founded as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE rebranded and expanded its mission in 2022 to include protecting free speech and free thought off campus as well.

Heterodox Academy

Heterodox Academy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit member organization of 5,400+ university faculty, staff, and students committed to improving research and education by promoting viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and constructive disagreement. Heterodox Academy was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Haidt and Nicholas Rosenkranz (who later became AFA founding members), along with Chris Martin, in reaction to their observations about the negative impact a lack of ideological diversity has had on the quality of research within their disciplines.

The Cornell Free Speech Alliance

The Cornell Free Speech Alliance (CFSA) aims to assist and encourage Cornell to uphold its primary mission by advancing free expression, viewpoint diversity, and academic freedom on campus. Composed of supporters from across the political spectrum and teaming with other leading university alumni groups nationwide, CFSA is a politically non-partisan organization which welcomes the participation of persons from all backgrounds and viewpoints who care about the future of Cornell. While it counts many faculty members and students as supporters, CFSA is an alumni-led organization that is wholly independent from Cornell University.

Free Speech For Campus

Free Speech For Campus (FSFC) is a Wisconsin-based grassroots movement that brings together concerned citizens to promote and protect free speech and due process rights on Wisconsin’s college campuses, which have been named among the worst in the nation for free speech rights. FSFC’s vision is to provide a state-wide network of advocates who can offer moral support, provide financial assistance, drive media attention, and help coordinate legal representation for students and faculty members under attack for their speech.

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

Launched in 1995, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price. Through its “Free to Teach, Free to Learn” campaign, ACTA helps institutions preserve and foster a campus culture that promotes intellectual diversity, open inquiry, and the free expression of ideas. It raises awareness about intellectual diversity among the public, advocates for strong policies at institutions, arms trustees with the tools to defend academic freedom, honors intellectual courage among faculty, and promotes civil discourse among students.

The American Academy of Sciences and Letters

The American Academy of Sciences and Letters (AASL) promotes scholarship and honors outstanding achievement in the arts, sciences, and learned professions. It encourages the fruitful exchange of ideas within academia and society at large. To these ends, the Academy awards ten Barry Prizes each year, honoring scholars of extraordinary achievement and dedication to excellence in the arts, sciences and learned professions. In addition to the Barry Prizes, AASL supports the fundamental and constitutive mission of colleges and universities as truth-seeking, knowledge advancing institutions in numerous ways.

The University of Chicago Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression

The University of Chicago Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression builds on UChicago’s historic commitment to academic freedom to provide a focal point for understanding and applying free expression at the university and beyond. The Chicago Forum’s mission is to promote the understanding, practice, and advancement of free and open discourse in collaboration with faculty and the broader university community. Chicago Forum events and initiatives bring together students, faculty, higher education leaders and educators, and a diverse range of guests who navigate the challenges of free inquiry and expression. The Forum encourages curious listening, honest reflection, and the openness to expanding, modifying, or even disavowing one’s own views.

The Columbia Academic Freedom Council

The Columbia Academic Freedom Council (CAFC) is an organization of faculty and research officers at Columbia University dedicated to promoting open inquiry, intellectual diversity, and civil discourse in the university community. Since at least 2015, members across multiple faculties of Columbia University have gathered informally to discuss their concerns regarding the state of academic freedom and freedom of expression at Columbia University. In October 2023, the group organized the CAFC with an initial membership of over 70 faculty members. The CAFC hosts a series of events for faculty and advocates for academic freedom in the university community.

Learn More About the Academic Freedom Alliance

Individuals at academic institutions should not fear suppression or retaliation for teaching, writing, or speaking. 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.