Free Expression

Leadership Communications

“Free expression is the foundation of any university that aspires to be a place that shares and creates new knowledge.”

– President Paul Alivisatos

Provost Lee works with President Alivisatos and Chancellor Zimmer to uphold the University’s commitment to free expression and academic freedom.

Chancellor Zimmer delivers testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee about the state of free expression on college campuses in the United States.

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

Leadership Communications

This page features selected speeches, articles, and other communications from the President, Chancellor, and Provost on the subject of free expression and academic freedom.

Statement on Faculty, Free Expression, and Diversity
Robert J. Zimmer, President
November 29, 2020
(Message to the University Community)

Federal Action Regarding Diversity and Free Expression on Campuses
Robert J. Zimmer, President
November 24, 2020
(Message to the University Community)

Washington Post: Free to State: The New Free Speech
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Conversation with Michael Duffy, Washington Post
Virtual Event
October 21, 2020
(Video)

Reinforcing the Chicago Principles and the Kalven Report
Robert J. Zimmer, President
October 5, 2020
(Message to the University Community)

­William F. Buckley Jr. Program: “A Conversation with Robert Zimmer and Nicholas Christakis”
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Conversation
Yale University
Virtual Event
October 1, 2020
(Video)

German Rector’s Conference: “Freedom of Expression: On the Culture of Debate at Universities”
Ka Yee Lee, Provost
Welcome Remarks
Virtual Event
June 24, 2020
(Video)

UChicago Davos 2020: National and Global Issues in Higher Education
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Panel Discussion
World Economic Forum Davos
January 21, 2020
(Video)

Academic Freedom in the Digital Age
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Keynote Address and Panel Discussion
University of Vienna
September 16, 2019
(Video)

Federal Action Regarding Free Expression on Campuses
Robert J. Zimmer, President
The University of Chicago
March 4, 2019
(Statement)

Universities, Education, and Free Expression 
Robert J. Zimmer, President
City Club of Cleveland
October 3, 2018
(Video)

The Future of Higher Education and College Access
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Big Brains Podcast, Episode 10
University of Chicago
October 1, 2018
(Podcast)

Clash of Values? College Campuses, Free Speech, Inclusion, and Safe Spaces
Robert J. Zimmer, President.
Panel Discussion
Aspen Ideas Festival
June 29, 2018
(Video)

A Conversation with Robert Zimmer
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Heterodox Academy Open Mind Awards& Conference, New York
June 15, 2018
(Video)

Testimony – Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Hearing on Campus Free Speech,
Washington D.C.
October 26, 2017
(Video)

Liberal Arts, Free Expression, and the Demosthenes-Feynman Trap
Robert J. Zimmer, President
American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) 2017 Merrill Awards, Washington D.C.
October 20, 2017

(Acceptance Address)

Free Expression
Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Orientation Week Remarks
The University of Chicago
September 18, 2017
(Video)

Charlottesville and Free Expression
Robert J. Zimmer, President
The University of Chicago
August 22, 2017
(Statement)

Free Expression and Campus Life
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Chicago Humanities Festival Event on Speech and Privilege
July 29, 2017
(Address)

Safeguarding Free Expression
Robert J. Zimmer, President
The Forum – American Council of
Trustees and Alumni (ACTA)

June 5, 2017
(Interview)

Free Expression on University Campuses: The Chicago Principles
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
March 30, 2017
(Address)

Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education
Robert J. Zimmer, President
The Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2016
(Opinion-Editorial)

2038th Stated Meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Welcome Remarks
University of Chicago, May 10, 2016
(Video)

Articulating and defending free expression
Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Eric D. Isaacs, Provost
The University of Chicago
September 25, 2014
(Statement)

Academic Freedom
Robert J. Zimmer, President
Conference: “What Is Academic Freedom For?”
Columbia University, New York

October 21, 2009
(Address)

Freedom of Expression and Protest
Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Provost
October 20, 2009
(Statement)

Diversity
Robert J. Zimmer, President
The University of Chicago
October 10, 2007

(Statement)

“The commitment to maintain open, rigorous, intense inquiry in an environment of maximal intellectual freedom is not a simple one. It is difficult and to succeed demands a culture and community that will support it. The University of Chicago holds these as its highest values and we seek to reinforce them at every turn.”

Robert J. Zimmer
Chancellor
The University of Chicago

Chancellor Zimmer addresses free expression on campus

As president of the University Robert J. Zimmer testified at a 2017 Senate hearing, along with college officials and legal experts, examining issues about free speech on college campuses.

Watch the video.