Princetonians for Free Speech (PFS) was created by a group of Princeton alumni in October of 2020 with the mission of promoting free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity at Princeton. PFS is an IRS approved tax-exempt organization. While we are an alumni-focused and run organization, all Princetonians – alumni, faculty, students, parents of students, and staff – are welcome to participate and do participate.
The founders of PFS created our organization because they believe free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity are issues of great urgency that go well beyond what is happening on campuses today. It is often said that today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow. Yet it is clear from recent events, as well as a number of polls, that many students, and even faculty, do not understand the importance of free speech and academic freedom; in fact, they often oppose these fundamental concepts. In addition many students and faculty are reluctant to state their views for fear of reprisal, especially on social media.
We work closely with faculty and student groups supporting free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity. In September of 2022, we, along with a group of Princeton faculty and students in the Princeton Open Campus Coalition formed the Princeton Free Speech Union, the first formal group on any campus bringing together alumni, faculty, and students to support free speech. PFS gives the many Princetonians who support free speech and academic freedom a mechanism to make their voices heard and to work together with others who feel the same way. We have published student critiques (as well as PFS critiques) of the university on our website. Non-Princetonians who are interested in free speech and academic freedom at universities can and do subscribe to PFS email alerts and visit our website for its robust content on free speech.
We also work closely with the largest nonprofit organizations supporting campus free speech and related values – notably, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and the Academic Freedom Alliance. PFS was a founding member in October of 2021 of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, an umbrella group of alumni free speech groups that has grown rapidly to include alumni groups from 15 colleges and universities, including Yale, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, UVA, and UNC, plus a number of smaller schools.
PFS has rallied, and will rally, support for Princeton students and faculty who are being attacked or harassed for expressing their views. Our organization is also a vehicle for Princetonians who wish to contact the University about specific developments on campus that they believe impede free speech or academic freedom.
PFS is non-partisan. Our board consists of a broad cross-section of Princeton alumni, and board members cover classes from 2023 back to 1970. We will stand up for the free speech and academic freedom of progressives, moderates, and conservatives alike.
We do not take positions on individual issues not related to our mission. In furthering this mission, PFS explicitly supports the “Chicago Principles,” the vision of free expression and academic freedom created at the University of Chicago and adopted, although often not followed, by Princeton in 2015 and ultimately adopted in one form or another by over eighty universities.
The website is public, and members of the Princeton community and others are invited to become subscribers. Subscription is free. Subscribers are sent email update notices when new material is put on the website and when an important event or debate is occurring on campus. They are also invited to participate in other PFS activities relating to free speech at Princeton. PFS will be sponsoring speakers, forums, and debates on campus and on the internet.
OUR MISSION: Princetonians for Free Speech will restore freedom of speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity at Princeton by establishing, educating, and empowering a nonpartisan community of alumni to demand Princeton embrace these core values, while supporting faculty and students who join our cause.
OUR VISION: At Princetonians for Free Speech, we envision a world where higher education fully and fearlessly embraces the principles of free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity so students will graduate as well-rounded, critical thinkers who can become the leaders of tomorrow that our country needs.
PFS BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Stuart Taylor, Jr. '70 President*
Edward L. Yingling '70 Secretary*
Todd Rulon-Miller '73 Treasurer*
John MacColl '70*
Henry Kennedy, Jr. '70
Leslie Spencer '79*
John Hummer '70
Lawrence J. Haas '80
Thomas N. Trkla '81
Robert Doar '83
Samantha Harris '99
Solveig Gold '17
Mikhael Smits '18
Rebekah Adams '21
Abigail Anthony '23
Myles McKnight '23
*members of the executive committee