How Can Universities Reform Themselves to Protect Open Inquiry on Campus?

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August 9, 2023+John Tomasi
+Viewpoint Diversity+Open Inquiry+Campus Policy

Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry

In March of 2023, a group of 15 scholars, including HxA President John Tomasi, convened at Princeton University to establish a set of principles meant to revitalize free inquiry on campus. The result of this convening is the just-published Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry, a statement that articulates “the core mission of the American university, its distinctive contribution to the American Republic,” and how open inquiry and free expression are integral to cultivating such a campus culture. Specifically, the principles:

  1. articulate the core mission of the university in relation to its special status as an educational institution dedicated to free inquiry;

  2. provide standards that cultivate free and vigorous inquiry in scholarship, teaching, and campus activities beyond the classroom; and

  3. offer broad guidelines for the revitalization of the university’s core mission.

The Princeton Principles are an outcome of the Freedom of Thought, Inquiry, and Expression Initiative at Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. The Principles are intended for adoption by colleges and universities of all types in their commitment to protecting and promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and free expression.


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