Since my last post on the campaign for free speech in higher education (“Fiduciary Duty in Higher Education”, October 2022) and in case you missed it, I am pleased to note the exciting news that the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, in a unanimous vote at its November 17 meeting, adopted a system-wide commitment to freedom of speech based on the Chicago Principles, the “gold standard” of such commitments that I have referenced several times. Here is a key excerpt from “The University of Texas System Commitment to Freedom of Speech and Expression”:
In a word, the fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most individual members of the UT System community to be offensive, unwise, immoral or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the UT System community, not for the UT System or the UT institutions, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments, not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose……..To this end, the UT System and the UT institutions have a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.
This is a very big development in a national campaign for academic freedom and we should be appreciative of the members of the UT Board for their leadership.
Gregory Stachura says
Courage is yet available to us in our time.
Jim, you have fought the good fight and have won a major victory for our State and in time for our citizens — much more to do, unfortunately, but a commitment to freedom of speech is the foundation for building a society. Now, we shall see if this lofty principle can withstand the onslaught of the left –as we can see in other areas of society that they will stop at nothing to quelch the concept of open and free commentary — witness Apple’s shutdown of open and free speech on its Chinese I-phones and the threat to remove Twitter from its app store availability. There is only so much that the unwashed Walmart shoppers and residents of fly-over country will stand — although, sadly, the result of the mid-terms put this theory in question.
Danny Billingsley says
Great work Jim. All Texas university system must follow suit.
Thanks so much Jim. This UT grad appreciates it very much. Now the enforcers need to make sure this is ALWAYS honored.
Dr. Tom says
The UT decision and statement will fall on deaf ears in the so-called “blue” regions and schools of America. My son and my sister in the most liberal State of Massachusetts, are not informed of the truth by the biased media. 78% of voters in that state voted for Biden, senile, corrupt, demented or not; it simply does not matter to them. It is a knee-jerk reflex for them, And of course they still disdain the Southland as being peopled by bigoted rubes. But they never see the rube in their mirror.
Tim P says
Congrats, Jim. The principles have been established. Now we wait and see how well the administration will enforce. True test will be when a non-woke guest speaker, faculty member, or student organization hold an event and it gets cancelled out of a concern for “safety” on campus. Time will tell, but again congrats on a hard-fought victory. These principles should be mandated by the legislature for all university systems receiving state funding.