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.