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Adopt a Policy of Institutional Neutrality

Institutional neutrality preserves campus freedom of expression and intellectual diversity. When a university remains neutral and abstains from declaring a collective opinion on political and social issues, it frees students and faculty to develop and articulate their own individual ideas and opinions.

The following institutions have adopted or affirmed a statement of institutional neutrality:

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA

On February 25, 2023, the Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees endorsed the Kalven Report, building on its Statement in Support of Institutional Nonpartisanship adopted on December 6, 2018.

Columbia University

New York, NY

On February 2, 2024, the Columbia University Senate passed a Resolution Reconfirming Our Commitment to the Principles of Academic Freedom and Shared Governance. It reads, “The University and its leaders should refrain from taking political positions in their institutional capacity, either as explicit statements or as the basis of policy.”

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

October 12, 2023, Northwestern University President Michael Schill stated, “Regardless of what the University has done in the past, I do not foresee that I will be issuing statements on political, geopolitical or social issues that do not directly impact the core mission of our University, the education and futures of our students, or higher education.”

Reed College

Portland, OR

On January 13, 1978, the Reed College Board of Trustees adopted a policy on Academic Freedom & Institutional Political Neutrality, developing an earlier statement on political neutrality approved by the faculty on April 19, 1971.

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

On October 11, 2023, Stanford University President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez issued a statement saying, “We believe it is important that the university, as an institution, generally refrain from taking institutional positions on complex political or global matters that extend beyond our immediate purview, which is the operations of the university itself.”

The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

On August 16, 2023, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees adopted its Philosophy on Institutional and Leadership Statements in Support of the Chicago Principles, which places limitations on institutional statements concerning social or political action.

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

In November 1967, a University of Chicago faculty committee, under the chairmanship of Harry Kalven, Jr., published the Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action, which advocates for institutional neutrality.

University of North Carolina System

NC

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors adopted Policy 1300.8 on December 15, 2017. This policy prohibits each of the 16 member institutions in the University of North Carolina System from acting “on the public policy controversies of the day in such a way as to require students, faculty, or administrators to publicly express a given view of social policy.”

Appalachian State University

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Fayetteville State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina Central University

• North Carolina State University

UNC at Asheville

UNC at Chapel Hill

-On July 27, 2022, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Board of Trustees passed a Resolution on the Affirmation of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech that further maintains institutional neutrality.

UNC at Charlotte

UNC at Greensboro

-On May 23, 2023, the University of North Carolina–Greensboro Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution in Support of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression that protects institutional neutrality.

UNC at Pembroke

UNC at Wilmington

• UNC School of the Arts

Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem State University

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY

In 2023, the University of Wyoming’s Working Group on Freedom of Expression, Intellectual Freedom, and Constructive Dialogue issued a Statement of the University of Wyoming Principles, which reads, “while University leaders will make decisions about matters that further UW’s educational mission, they do not, on principle, commit the University in ways that are outside of its core academic purpose.”

Utah State University

Logan, UT

In a statement on its website, Utah State University President Elizabeth Cantwell quotes from the Kalven Report and promises to remain neutral on all matters apart from those that “endanger our institution’s ability to fulfill its land-grant promise of research, teaching, and service.”

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

On May 4, 2022, Vanderbilt University’s chancellor wrote an opinion-editorial asking university leaders to adhere to institutional neutrality. Vanderbilt’s website includes the following statement: “Institutional neutrality is the commitment our university leaders make to refrain from taking public positions on controversial issues unless the issue is materially related to the core mission and functioning of the university. Institutional neutrality does not obligate a university’s students and faculty to remain silent—rather, its aim is to allow the greatest possible space for student and faculty voices.”

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

On October 12, 2023, Williams College President Maud Mandel released a statement in which she said, “I do not believe it is the president’s job to speak for the whole community, or even that it is possible to do so.”

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