Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

Guarantee First Amendment Freedoms Now, Higher Education Group Tells University of Texas President

ACTA Demands University of Texas President Protect Students' First Amendment Right After Cancellation of Scheduled Address of Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
February 9, 2000

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today sent a letter to University of Texas president Larry R. Faulkner demanding immediate protection of students’ first amendment rights after cancellation of the scheduled address of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The University canceled Kissinger’s speech on the grounds of security after a student organization called Radical Action Network threatened to disrupt the lecture.

“Your first responsibility is to protect the ability of individuals to exercise their right to free speech,” the letter said. “Instead, you allowed a threat from a fringe group to deny students their right to hear an important point of view.”

“Too many administrators allow themselves to be whipsawed by those who seek to drown out alternative points of view,” ACTA vice president and general counsel Anne D. Neal stated. “It is the responsibility of a university to teach students that the right way to counter ideas with which they disagree is with more speech, not less.

“The cancellation only empowers those who seek to disrupt and fosters a growing disregard for the free exchange of ideas. In that kind of environment, it will simply become impossible for anyone—students or outside speakers—to express an unpopular point of view,” Neal continued.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to academic freedom, quality, and accountability. Its members include alumni and trustees from more than 200 colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Texas.


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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