Please find below a letter that you can send to Yale’s President, Peter Salovey, urging Yale to do more to protect free expression and viewpoint diversity on campus.
Please find below a letter you can send to President Salovey about free speech at Yale.
Dear President Salovey,
Yale University is a hostile environment for free expression and viewpoint diversity. Despite a litany of embarrassing incidents and repeated condemnations of University policies by respected leaders across the political spectrum, your administration has yet to take the necessary steps to demonstrate its commitment to the core values of liberal education.
The mediocre ratings that Yale earns from organizations dedicated to free expression and civil liberties attest to the University’s shortcomings:
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a leading non-profit group focused on defending civil liberties in academia, gives Yale University a speech code rating of Yellow. According to FIRE, “Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application.”
Heterodox Academy, a collaborative network of academics established in 2015 to support viewpoint diversity in the academy, gives Yale a low score of 26/100. By comparison, the University of Chicago enjoys a much higher 98/100 score.
Yale is departing from a storied tradition of advancing and protecting freedom of expression. In 1974, the University adopted the Woodward Report drafted by a Committee on Free Expression. Yet in 2017, Yale awarded the prestigious Nakanishi Prize, given to two graduating seniors who, “have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College,” to two students who were infamously captured on camera in 2015 hectoring and bullying former Yale professor Nicholas Christakis over an email about Halloween costumes. The University’s decision to reward and applaud such behavior will damage not only the climate for free expression, but the ability of students and faculty to have difficult conversations about race and difference.
As a step in the right direction, I ask that you and your administration officially adopt the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. The statement guarantees “all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn,” and proclaims that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” As of today, 25 schools – including the University of Princeton, Vanderbilt University, and Georgetown University – have adopted this statement in recognition of student and faculty rights.
I am hopeful that, under your leadership, Yale University can recommit itself to protecting free expression and viewpoint diversity.
[your name here]