Free Your Campus,
Free Your Mind

Free expression is the necessary precondition for the unfettered search for truth on the college campus.
Learn how to build a culture of free expression at your institution through ACTA’s Campus Freedom Initiative™.

What does a culture of free expression look like?

See why this matters and how you can be part of the solution.


ACTA encourages all colleges and universities in America to take the actions listed in our Gold Standard for Freedom of Expression. In our campus campaigns, we analyze the policies and practices of specific schools using the Gold Standard and recommend next steps they should take to better support a culture of free expression and intellectual diversity on their campuses.

ACTA’s Gold Standard for Freedom of Expression™

Below are actions you can take to build a culture of free expression on your campus.

ACTA’s Gold Standard for Freedom of Expression™ - image

Commit to a Culture of Free Expression

  • Adopt the Chicago Principles on Freedom of Expression or a similarly strong statement.
  • Establish clear expectations regarding free expression in student, faculty, and staff handbooks and codes of conduct.
  • Include a free expression unit in new-student orientations.
  • Protect the diversity of political viewpoints by adopting an institutional neutrality policy such as the Kalven Committee Report.

Foster Civil Discourse

  • Sponsor campus debates that model civil discourse.
  • Encourage establishment of student groups promoting free expression.
  • Protect the rights of invited speakers and listeners to engage with controversial ideas.
  • Establish and enforce consequences that deter disruption of sponsored speakers, events, and classes.

Cultivate Intellectual Diversity

  • Encourage presidents, provosts, and deans to model respect for a broad range of viewpoints.
  • Guarantee that viewpoint diversity is reflected in student life policies and practices.
  • Support academic centers dedicated to free inquiry and intellectual diversity.
  • Make intellectual diversity a stated goal in faculty hiring, evaluation, and promotion.

Break Down Barriers to Free Expression

  • Eliminate speech and IT policies that have a chilling effect on free expression.
  • Ensure that Title IX and other disciplinary procedures do not infringe on free expression.
  • Disband bias response teams.
  • Review student government policies to ensure viewpoint neutrality in student group recognition and funding.

Advance Leadership Accountability

  • Incorporate explicit policies of free expression in governance bylaws and other key institutional documents.
  • Include a commitment to free expression as a criterion for presidential searches and evaluations.
  • Require free expression and viewpoint diversity training for administrative staff.
  • Conduct regular evaluations of the state of free expression and intellectual diversity on campus.

Experts on Freedom of Expression

Dr. Steve McGuire Dr. Steve McGuire
Paul & Karen Levy Fellow in Campus Freedom at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni
Dr. Dorian Abbot Dr. Dorian Abbot
Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago
Stuart Taylor, Jr. Stuart Taylor, Jr.
ACTA Board Member, Co-Founder of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, and President of Princetonians for Free Speech

Are you concerned about freedom of expression on your campus?

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Are you concerned about freedom of expression on your campus? - image

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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