WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today called on the George Washington University Board of Trustees to take concrete steps to ensure the free exchange of ideas on campus, after The Washington Post reported the defacement of anti-abortion crosses and broader student concerns about the intellectual climate at the university.
“If GW is committed to the free exchange of ideas, the time for the trustees to act is now,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal, after applauding GW president Steven Knapp for his strong and unequivocal condemnation of the vandalism.
Pointing to the university’s own official statement that it “is committed to the protection of free speech, the freedom of assembly, and the safeguarding of the right of lawful protest on campus,” ACTA recommended the board commission a survey of the campus climate to ensure it fosters a robust exchange of ideas.
“In doing so, the trustees would be joining a growing number of boards across the country that are taking the initiative to protect and ensure free speech—a cornerstone of quality higher education,” added Neal.
The University System of Georgia recently commissioned a well-publicized study of the state of free discourse and intellectual diversity on campus and has now pledged to conduct the survey annually.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas and accreditation in higher education.