Statement on free speech at Yale

The following is a statement by Yale President Peter Salovey:

Yale’s bedrock commitment to free expression is articulated clearly in the Woodward Report of 1974, which remains our policy today. 

As Woodward states, “The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.”

For the entire report, which we disseminate regularly to our students, see http://yalecollege.yale.edu/deans-office/policies-reports/report-committee-freedom-expression-yale

In January 2015, the University of Chicago released a set of policies concerning free expression on campus that deservingly has received wide attention (https://freeexpression.uchicago.edu/sites/freeexpression.uchicago.edu/files/FOECommitteeReport.pdf).  The fundamental tenets of this document align with Yale’s policies based on the Woodward Report (e.g., “the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose”).

Yale is very much in agreement with this view. 

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