November 21, 2022
See our special edition newsletter posting here that contains links to videos and other information from the Academic Freedom Conference hosted in early November by Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
November 16, 2022
On The Need for Contrarian Thinking Stanford Review’s editor-in-chief Mimi St. Johns, who is a junior studying Computer Science and German, wrote in a recent op-ed The Contrarian Ethos that “freedom of speech is more restricted than possibly any other time in the history of Stanford -- and more broadly America” and suggested there is currently a need for intellectual engagement that includes contrarian thinking. You can read Ms. St. Johns’ op-ed on this website (see Stanford Concerns). Stanford’s President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on the Campus Climate for Discussing Divergent Views In light of Ms. St. Johns’ op-ed, we thought it useful to again bring to readers’ attention the remarks made a year ago by Stanford’s President Marc Tessier-Lavigne about his take regarding the campus climate for discussing divergent views. You can read President Tessier-Lavigne’s comments on this website (see Stanford Speaks). How I Liberated My College Classroom At a two-day conference regarding academic freedom that was hosted earlier this month by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, one of the panelists, Duke faculty member John Rose, spoke about techniques he uses at Duke to create a climate where students feel free to express divergent even if potentially unpopular viewpoints. We have reprinted an op-ed Prof. Rose wrote a year ago describing the approaches he uses. You can read his op-ed on this website (see Commentary). Tell Others About Our Website; Send Us Your Suggestions and Opinions Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested. Names and email addresses can be added to our mailing list by writing to email@example.com or by clicking Contact/Subscribe on this website. We also are interested in any suggestions from alumni, faculty, students, parents and others about items that might be posted at the website or about other activities that might be undertaken, including on campus. Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Contact Us function on this website.
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“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King
November 3, 2022
Faculty Statement Regarding Academic Freedom
We have posted at our website a copy of a statement regarding academic freedom that was drafted by faculty members in various schools and departments at Stanford. The draft letter was then circulated to colleges and universities around the country and has already garnered over 600 signatures nationwide. Take a look.
Student Social Life . . . and Ongoing Evidence of an Overly Intrusive Bureaucracy
The Stanford Daily published a very well-researched and well-written article in late October about student unhappiness with current social life at Stanford. After reading the article, a number of us were struck with a secondary theme in the article about what comes across as an overly intrusive bureaucracy at Stanford. A copy of the Daily article is posted here: "Inside Stanford's 'War on Fun': Tensions Mount Over University's Handling of Social Life."
As if to prove the point, Stanford has suspended Stanford’s tree mascot for having displayed a “Stanford Hates Fun” banner at a home football game several weeks ago. Surely the irony of this action can’t be lost on third-party observers: "Stanford Student Suspended From Serving as Tree Mascot."
Tell Others About Our Website; Send Us Your Suggestions and Opinions
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested. Names and email addresses can be added to our mailing list by writing to email@example.com or by using the Subscribe function at the website: https://www.stanfordalumnifreespeech.org/contact-subscribe.
We also are interested in any suggestions from alumni, faculty, students, parents and others about items that might be posted at the website or about other activities that might be undertaken, including on campus. Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Contact Us function at the website: https://www.stanfordalumnifreespeech.org/contact-subscribe.
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“I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -- James Madison, 1788 speech
October 21, 2022
As we indicated in prior mailings, in addition to updating the website Stanford Alumni for Free Speech and Critical Thinking from time to time, we will periodically circulate links to articles from other colleges and universities. Here is a sampling of what we have recently received:
Yale Law School Dean, Heather K. Gerken, defends the law school after federal judges announce boycott: "Yale Law Dean Defends School After Federal Judges Announce Boycott."
According to a new YouGov survey, the majority of Americans oppose laws that restrict faculty speech: "Most Americans Oppose Laws That Restrict Faculty Speech, Poll Finds."
New survey finds that while 98% of college students believe in free speech, around two-thirds want to censor the other side's political views on campus: "Despite Strong Belief in Free Speech, College Students Want Political Views Censored on Campus."
Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson has committed the school to respecting all student speech: "This University President is Taking a Stand for Free Speech."
The University of California at Berkeley is facing criticism after a music teacher at the school was not fired for a ten-year sardonic post: "UC Berkeley Bucks Mob Demands to Fire Music Teacher."
Jewish Berkeley Law Students discuss in a Daily Beast article how they feel excluded: “We’re Jewish Berkeley Law Students, Excluded in Many Areas on Campus.”
Thank you for your interest in our website and newsletter. If you know of other alumni, faculty, students, parents or others who might be interested in these issues, please forward this newsletter to them and suggest that they go to our website and subscribe.
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” -- Benjamin Franklin, 1722
October 11, 2022
Janice Traflet, a business professor at Bucknell University, recently wrote about speaking fearlessly despite the threats of cancel culture: "Learning to Speak in the Midst of Cancel Culture."
Jillian Horton, a former associate dean and associate department chair of internal medicine at the University of Toronto, expressed concerns about the commodification of university education and whether it has become more important that faculty make students happy rather than challenge them: "Op-Ed: Listen Up, College Students. You don't 'Get' a Grade. You Have to Earn It."
Charles Lipson, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, wrote a recent commentary about restoring free speech at colleges and universities: "Restoring Free Speech at Our Universities."
Lauren Noble, a 2011 Yale graduate and currently head of the Buckley Program at Yale, wrote about the history of free speech at Yale, including its ground-breaking Woodward Report in 1974: "Yale is Abandoning Its Own Free Speech Codes."