Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui discussed censorship and the nature of freedom of expression and its limitations with Robert Morrissey, the Benjamin Franklin Professor of French Literature at the University of Chicago.
The following are faculty reports and policies that have guided the University’s approach to free expression and open discourse over the years and to this day.
- Chicago Principles: Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression
The Committee on Freedom of Expression was appointed in July 2014. The committee’s charge was to draft a statement “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” The committee’s report was published in January 2015.
- Report of the Diversity Advisory Council
In 2015, The Diversity Advisory Council was charged with reviewing institutional practices in consultation with members of the campus community in order to “insure an intentionally open community of learning, for all.” The Council’s Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (p.57) outlines the importance of freedom of expression in the context of diversity and inclusion, noting these are not principles in conflict, but rather that “each requires the other, in order to foster the trust needed to enact that principle and those aims.”
- Report of the Committee on University Discipline for Disruptive Conduct
In June 2016, the provost appointed the Committee on University Discipline for Disruptive Conduct to, among other tasks, “review and make recommendations about procedures for student disciplinary matters involving disruptive conduct including interference with freedom of inquiry or debate.”
- Report of the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Dissent and Protest
The provost established the Ad Hoc Committee on Protest and Dissent in winter 2013 to make recommendations about the principles that should govern protests and demonstrations on campus in the future.
- Views on the Rights and Standing of Invited Speakers (1974)
In the 1970s, the University of Chicago clarified its position on visiting speakers, following the disruption of guest lectures and events at the University and institutions across the nation.
- Kalven Report: Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action
The faculty committee was appointed in February 1967 by University President George W. Beadle. The committee conceived of its function as principally that of providing a point of departure for discussion in the University community on the question of the University’s role in political and social action.
These policies guide and facilitate free expression at the University of Chicago:
“Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.”
Hanna Holborn Gray
University of Chicago President
“The policy of repression of ideas cannot work and has never worked. The alternative to it is the long and difficult road of education. To this, the American people have been committed. It requires patience and tolerance, even in the face of intense provocation.”
Robert Maynard Hutchins
Hearing of the State Seditions Investigation Commission, April 21, 1949