“History shows that the more open the intellectual environment, the better minorities will do.... [G]ay people know we owe our progress to freedom of speech and freedom of thought.... The best society for minorities is not the society… more
From the March 7, 2018 issue of Princeton Alumni Weekly
While some guest speakers raise eyebrows on campus, Walter Hickel, President Richard Nixon’s first secretary of the interior, raised a ruckus. Indeed, the repercussions of his visit were felt for weeks — not because of anything he said but because of the way he was received March 5, 1970. Hickel headlined a conference on “Ecology and Politics in America’s Environmental Crisis,” but his speech, . . . was overwhelmed by student anger at the Vietnam War. While most of his listeners in Jadwin Gymnasium kept their views to themselves, a group of 75 hecklers unleashed a barrage of jibes, chants, and cries.
As concern mounts about the status of those principles that preserve and honor freedom of expression in American higher education, Princeton’s James Madison Program recently launched the Initiative on Freedom of Thought, Inquiry and Expression. It held its first day-long conference, entitled Institutional Neutrality and the Mission of the University, on November 11 in Aaron Burr Hall on Princeton’s campus.
The event hosted an all-star line-up of nationally recognized luminaries and authorities on academic freedom and its aims are ambitious. The panelists took a deep look at the principle of institutional neutrality as articulated in the Kalven Report, a 1967 University of Chicago statement prepared by a committee charged with creating “a statement on the university’s role in political and social action.” The committee was chaired by the late Harry Kalven, who was among Chicago’s most legendary professors of law.
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