Trustees | Freedom of Expression

Letter to the editor: Applaud support for free speech

MONTANA STANDARD   |  July 14, 2017 by Linda Frey

Recent incidents at the University of California-Berkeley where protesters threw Molotov cocktails and broke windows at the site of a sponsored lecture, and at Middlebury College where protesters assaulted a professor, highlight a disturbing trend in higher education: the assault on free expression.

This flouting of the norms of civil discourse and debate endangers the very heart of the university, for freedom of expression is essential to its mission and a fundamental constitutional right. Faculty recently demonstrated their commitment to open inquiry and to education, not indoctrination.

We encourage our students to speak freely and think critically. The citizens of Montana should applaud the University of Montana, where the Faculty Senate at its spring meeting overwhelmingly endorsed the University of Chicago’s statement on principles of free expression. The university thus joins 20 other institutions who have done 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.

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