U-Chicago Dean Reaffirms Commitment to Academic Freedom in Letter to Incoming Freshman

The Dean of Students at the University of Chicago sent a letter to all incoming freshman this week outlining what they can expect to find upon arriving on campus this fall—a university dedicated to open discourse and the free expression of all ideas.

As reported by The Chicago Maroon, a student newspaper on campus:

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” reads the letter from Dean of Students Jay Ellison.

Fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related University priority-building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds. Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community. The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.

This is a commendable action from an institution that already serves as a model for other universities seeking to advance academic freedom and encourage intellectual fearlessness in faculty and students alike. As the Dean writes, “The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.”

This statement is just as true for the academic community broadly considered, and we warmly hope that other administrators will follow this example.

Read the full letter below.

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