New Report Provides a Roadmap for Campus Free Expression

January 7, 2022

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Title: Campus Free Expression: A New Roadmap

Author: Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center highlights the need for a renewed roadmap for campus free expression, considering the civic mission of higher education, and the changing social and political landscape around campus.

The report, developed by the Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression, uses the comprehensive term “free expression” instead of “free speech” to reflect various modes of expression. The report provides common principles on developing a roadmap for campus free expression with several examples rather than specific policies.

The task force believes that a successful roadmap should be tailored to each campus community’s unique nature. Also, the report highlights the importance of shared governance and engaging the campus community to develop the roadmap, including college presidents and senior leadership teams, trustees, faculty, athletic directors and coaches, and student affairs staff.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Use “leadership capital” to publicly support a culture of free expression.
  • Develop strategies tailored to your community’s mission and history.  
  • Remember that an inclusive and respectful environment for all community members is a prerequisite for freedom of expression.
  • Develop programs considering all facets of the campus community.
  • Establish a decision-making process for a “clear, consistent, and fair response” to controversies about free expression.
  • Remember that freedom of expression is a matter of culture in the end, beyond formal policies.
  • Remember, a civic mission of higher education is to prepare students to be “independent thinkers.”

To read the full report, click here.

—Ji Hye (Jane) Kim

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