The Corner


Alumni Group Forms at Davidson to Protect Free Speech

Instead of just complaining that college campuses are hostile to the thinking of conservatives, libertarians, and anyone else who isn’t gung-ho for statism, some people are taking action.

Davidson College is a highly esteemed school in North Carolina, but it is not a good place for the open exchange of ideas. FIRE gives it a red light rating, meaning that it has one or more policies that seriously impinge upon free speech. Recently, a group of concerned alums has formed Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought and Discourse, seeking to make their school more balanced. In today’s Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson writes about DFTD.

The group has petitioned the Davidson leadership to adopt the Chicago Principles regarding free speech. The petition reads in part:

Whereas, freedom of expression and inquiry is currently under threat on the Davidson Campus, as the result of ideological imbalance on the faculty and within the administration and of policies intended to ensure one-sided ideological orthodoxy in all areas of campus life—from the hiring of faculty, to questions of faculty tenure, to the selection of required reading for freshmen, to classroom practices discouraging open debate and independent thinking, to the mix of external speakers brought to campus.

DFTD also wants the administration to stop taking political positions.

Robinson concludes:

DFTD is a model for alumni of other universities to follow. It is a much-needed voice for alumni who love their alma maters but are concerned with many modern trends in higher education. For too long, alumni have been sports fans, boosters, and donors. DFTD shows that they can also be important actors in changing their universities for the better.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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