At The Presidents Dinner in Washington, D.C., last week, 13 college presidents gathered with national media outlets to engage in organic conversation about higher education and some of today’s most pressing issues.
“The undertone I get is that higher ed should fix the inequality that is devastating this country, and we do have an important role,” Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson said. “The question is, what is that role, what is the organization that we actually create, and what is the momentum and power that we might have that we don’t yet quite recognize today?”
Knowing that objections to freedom of thought & inquiry can have detrimental implications, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars launched The Campus Call. Wellesley College is a member.
A group of 13 college presidents announced the formation of a group to “champion free expression” at their institutions as higher education grapples with free speech issues nationwide, from speakers being shouted down to professors losing jobs over their perceived politics.
The group—known as the Campus Call for Free Expression—is launching a coordinated effort across their campuses to support free speech, according to a press release from The Institute for Citizens & Scholars and the James L. Knight Foundation. The Institute for Citizens & Scholars, a nonprofit, is the coordinating body while the Knight Foundation is providing $250,000 in funding.
The 13 participating institutions are: Benedict College; Claremont McKenna College; Cornell University; DePauw University; Duke University; James Madison University; Rollins College; Rutgers University; University of Notre Dame; University of Pittsburgh; University of Richmond; Wellesley College; and Wesleyan University.
A group of 13 college presidents has begun a campaign to bring attention to the importance of free expression, critical inquiry and civil discourse on college campuses. Wellesley College is a member of this group.
The presidents of a wide-ranging group of 13 universities are promoting free speech on their campuses this academic year, as part of a nonprofit initiative announced Tuesday to combat what organizers call dire threats to US democracy.
The participating schools include the University of Notre Dame, a private Catholic research school, Benedict College, a historically Black school in South Carolina, Rollins College, a small liberal arts school in Florida, and Ivy League member Cornell University, which in April announced that freedom of expression would be the theme for its 2023 school year. The other schools are Claremont McKenna College, DePauw University, Duke University, James Madison University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Richmond, Rutgers University, Wellesley College, and Wesleyan University.
More than a dozen college presidents have signed on to a new campaign to bolster free speech on their campuses. The 13 leaders — hailing from Cornell, Duke, Rutgers Universities, and Wellesley College, to name a few — are pledging to “urgently spotlight, uplift, and re-emphasize” free speech and academic freedom over the next academic year, they announced Tuesday. The presidents, who are planning what they call “urgent action,” are mostly from private colleges.
“We are thinking about how we are going to not only comply with the law, but what are the ways that we will continue to ensure that we have wide diversity on all levels,” said Paula A. Johnson, the president of Wellesley and the first person of color to lead the prestigious women’s college. She said that Wellesley will expand its recruitment and outreach efforts to prospective students of color through community organizations and online efforts to encourage students of color to apply to the women’s college. “I do worry about the impact on students who are potential applicants and that is why our recruitment strategies need to be fast and deep,” Johnson said.
Wellesley College President Paula Johnson said she worries a ban on race-conscious admissions will unavoidably reduce the number of minority students attending Wellesley and other selective colleges, which “will have negative consequences for generations of students and leaders going forward.”
President Paula A. Johnson is among four people who will recieve the 2023 Harvard Medal for “extraordinary service” to the University.