Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

ACTA Convenes Conference to Examine Threats to Academic Freedom on Campus

ACTA calls on trustees to protect the free exchange of ideas in the wake of faculty failures
April 24, 2013

Washington, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni will host a conference tomorrow in New York City on academic freedom in crisis. The conference, coupled with a report on the same subject, comes at a time when political correctness is rampant, graduation speakers are disinvited, and campus speech codes threaten the free exchange of ideas.

Benno Schmidt, chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees—and former president of Yale University—will be the keynote speaker. Distinguished panelists include:

  • Philip Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Neil Hamilton, Professor of Law and Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, University of St. Thomas
  • Donald Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science, Law, and Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Academic freedom is the hallmark of American colleges and universities, and that freedom must be defended,” said Anne D. Neal, ACTA president. “Yet the very groups that have been charged with protecting and advancing academic freedom have become part of the problem and are undermining public trust in our colleges and universities.   Regrettably, too many have forgotten that academic freedom is both a right and a responsibility. ACTA’s conference and guidebook are designed to empower trustees to protect academic freedom as faculty and others undermine it.” 

ACTA’s report on academic freedom, Free to Teach, Free to Learn, will be sent to more than 10,000 trustees around the country. It includes case studies and commentary from educators, attorneys, and policymakers including former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Alan Charles Kors, Columbia Law School professor Philip Hamburger, and U.S. Circuit Judge José Cabranes and Yale Law School professor Kate Stith-Cabranes.

Conference details:
Thursday, April 25, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Union League Club
38 E. 37th Street
New York, NY 10016


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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