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Keck Weighs In on New Academic Freedom Principles in Inside Higher Ed Article

September 21, 2023

Inside Higher Ed

Thomas M. Keck

Thomas M. Keck

It's been nearly a decade since the development of the Chicago principles on campus free expression. Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions has now released the “Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry.” The document says it extends the “scope” of the Chicago principles.

The so-called Princeton Principles—despite the name, they haven’t been endorsed by the university’s leaders—are more extensive, providing some detailed suggestions on what academic institutions should do, and not do, to promote academic freedom and free speech for students and faculty members.

Thomas Keck, Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics, says the Princeton Principles do improve on the Chicago principles, which don’t use the term “academic freedom.” But he says the Princeton Principles still seem to privilege free speech over academic freedom—he notes students’ free speech can conflict with, among other things, professors’ academic freedom to control classroom discussions.

“I think there’s room for further conversation and refinement about how to strike the optimal balance,” he says.

Read more in the Inside Higher Ed article, “New Academic Freedom Principles Open Door to Outside Intervention.”

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