Adopt a Policy of Institutional Neutrality

Institutional neutrality preserves campus freedom of expression and intellectual diversity. When a university remains neutral and abstains from declaring a collective opinion on political and social issues, it frees students and faculty to develop and articulate their own individual ideas and opinions.

The following institutions have adopted a policy or statement of institutional neutrality:

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA

On February 25, 2023, the Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees endorsed the Kalven Report, building on its Statement in Support of Institutional Nonpartisanship adopted on December 6, 2018.

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

In early 2024, President Vincent Rougeau of The College of the Holy Cross published Our Statement on Statements, in which he announced that, “Holy Cross will no longer comment, as an institution, on matters or events that are not directly connected to our work and identity as an academic institution.

Columbia University

New York, NY

On February 2, 2024, the Columbia University Senate passed a Resolution Reconfirming Our Commitment to the Principles of Academic Freedom and Shared Governance. It reads, “The University and its leaders should refrain from taking political positions in their institutional capacity, either as explicit statements or as the basis of policy.”

Reed College

Portland, OR

On January 13, 1978, the Reed College Board of Trustees adopted a policy on Academic Freedom & Institutional Political Neutrality, developing an earlier statement on political neutrality approved by the faculty on April 19, 1971.

The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

On August 16, 2023, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees adopted its Philosophy on Institutional and Leadership Statements in Support of the Chicago Principles, which places limitations on institutional statements concerning social or political action.

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

In November 1967, a University of Chicago faculty committee, under the chairmanship of Harry Kalven, Jr., published the Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action, which advocates for institutional neutrality.

University of North Carolina System


On July 14, 2023, North Carolina Senate Bill 195 became law. It amended North Carolina General Statutes Annotated § 116-300, adding a new institutional neutrality requirement to the free expression policy that must be promulgated by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Appalachian State University: On June 23, 2023, the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution on the Affirmation of Freedom of Speech at Appalachian State University, which protects institutional neutrality.

East Carolina University: On February 3, 2023, the East Carolina University Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech, which protects institutional neutrality.

Elizabeth City State University: On October 16, 2023, the Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech, which protects institutional neutrality.

UNCCharlotte: On February 15, 2024, the University of North Carolina–Charlotte Board of Trustees adopted an Affirmation of Institutional Neutrality, which protects institutional neutrality.

UNC–Chapel Hill: On July 27, 2022, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Board of Trustees passed a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech that further maintains institutional neutrality.

UNCGreensboro: On May 23, 2023, the University of North Carolina–Greensboro Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution in Support of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression that protects institutional neutrality.

UNCPembroke: On November 10, 2023, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech.

UNCWilmington: On October 13, 2023, the University of North Carolina Wilmington adopted a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech, which protects institutional neutrality.

Western Carolina University: On June 9, 2023, the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution Regarding Affirmation of Academic Freedom of Speech. The text of this Resolution “can be found in TAB D-2 of the Trustee material” and is, to this point, not publicly available. 

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY

In 2023, the University of Wyoming’s Working Group on Freedom of Expression, Intellectual Freedom, and Constructive Dialogue issued a Statement of the University of Wyoming Principles, which reads, “while University leaders will make decisions about matters that further UW’s educational mission, they do not, on principle, commit the University in ways that are outside of its core academic purpose.”

Utah State University

Logan, UT

In a statement on its website, Utah State University President Elizabeth Cantwell quotes from the Kalven Report and promises to remain neutral on all matters apart from those that “endanger our institution’s ability to fulfill its land-grant promise of research, teaching, and service.”

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

On May 4, 2022, Vanderbilt University’s chancellor wrote an opinion-editorial asking university leaders to adhere to institutional neutrality. Vanderbilt’s website includes the following statement: “Institutional neutrality is the commitment our university leaders make to refrain from taking public positions on controversial issues unless the issue is materially related to the core mission and functioning of the university. Institutional neutrality does not obligate a university’s students and faculty to remain silent—rather, its aim is to allow the greatest possible space for student and faculty voices.”

The following institutions have affirmed the principles of institutional neutrality:

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

October 12, 2023, Northwestern University President Michael Schill stated, “Regardless of what the University has done in the past, I do not foresee that I will be issuing statements on political, geopolitical or social issues that do not directly impact the core mission of our University, the education and futures of our students, or higher education.”

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

On October 11, 2023, Stanford University President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez issued a statement saying, “We believe it is important that the university, as an institution, generally refrain from taking institutional positions on complex political or global matters that extend beyond our immediate purview, which is the operations of the university itself.”

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

On October 12, 2023, Williams College President Maud Mandel released a statement in which she said, “I do not believe it is the president’s job to speak for the whole community, or even that it is possible to do so.”


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.

Discover More