Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

ACTA’s new essay details ongoing threats to free expression on college campuses and points to best practices for higher ed leaders

April 25, 2018 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today released its newest Perspectives on Higher Education essay: Building a Culture of Free Expression on the American College Campus: Challenges & SolutionsThe report is written by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm, a distinguished historian and constitutional scholar at the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University.

On a daily basis, higher education leaders grapple with issues surrounding free expression and the forces that protect or degrade it within the academy. A number of institutions have pioneered best practices to foster intellectual freedom, while others continue to enforce “safe spaces” and speech codes that limit the exploration of controversial political viewpoints. Recent surveys show that a significant percentage of students now favor limiting certain aspects of free speech on their campuses. Overall, American higher education is caught in a tug of war of opposing values on the importance of freedom of inquiry and speech.

In this timely essay, Dr. Malcolm outlines the pivotal historical and contemporary dynamics surrounding freedom of expression, and provides recommendations and best practices for higher education leaders to build and protect a campus culture of freedom of opinion and speech.

Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni observed: “Joyce Malcolm, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a leading authority on Constitutional law, has honored ACTA by serving on its Council of Scholars. In this important essay, she now brings a historian’s vision—and sense of urgency—to the challenges of preserving the freedom of thought and inquiry on which all higher education worthy of the name depends.”


CONTACT: Doug Sprei,

ACTA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education. We receive no government funding and are supported through the generosity of individuals and foundations. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that 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.

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