DePauw President White joins free speech task force

Friday, November 20, 2020

DePauw University President Lori S. White has been named to a task force of academic leaders who will identify practices, programs and policies to foster free expression on college campuses.

Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression is the creation of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington D.C. think tank that merges ideas from both political parties to solve issues of health, security and opportunity for all Americans.

The task force is co-chaired by former Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington state, chief executive officer of Challenge Seattle, and former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, executive in residence at Middlebury College. It has 10 other members, including White, who is the only member from the Midwest.

White became DePauw’s president July 1.

“Institutions of higher education have the critical role of creating leaders the world needs,” White said. “To do so, we must foster two important values: Freedom of speech and expression and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Some say these values are antithetical, but they should not be.

“Our campuses and our world are enriched, our communities become more equitable,” White added, “and we develop open-minded leaders when we explore and are open to discussing and debating a range of ideas and perspectives, freely expressed, while understanding these ideals within the context of the historical experiences of diverse communities.”

Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, said “higher education institutions have a special role in America’s democracy, preparing the next generation for civic leadership and principled debate. Our democracy cannot succeed if we accept the false premise that free expression is somehow at odds with cultural diversity, inclusion and individual well-being.”

The task force will consider these issues:

The adoption of a free expression statement that connects the value of free expression to a school’s history and mission.
Approaches for college presidents and their leadership teams can follow to ensure input and buy-in from students, faculty, staff and other campus constituencies to the values of free expression and diversity and inclusion.
Procedures that ensure that free expression informs and harmonizes with other policies.
Guidelines for college presidents and their leadership teams about when it is appropriate for leadership to comment on contemporary political and social issues.
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  • Good development. It would be better if they adopted The Chicago Statement as over 50 other colleges and universities have done.

    -- Posted by Old Soul on Fri, Nov 20, 2020, at 3:40 PM
  • This actually sounds legitimate. In contrast to that Chicago statement, which is really just a conservative scheme trying to compel unversities into having conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro and Ann Coulter and 100 like them to go on a non-stop college speaking tour spreading their twisted philosophies like it's the gospel.

    -- Posted by Raker on Fri, Nov 20, 2020, at 6:46 PM
  • Talk about Free Speech--Indiana University at Bloomington will have a new class called "Defunding the police".

    Just thought all on this site would want to know.

    -- Posted by donantonio on Fri, Nov 20, 2020, at 10:04 PM
  • Raker,

    So, based on your comments, is it fair to say free speech is ok if it fits liberal theology? I don't want to misunderstand nor have the words below represent your perspective if I have misunderstood.

    Personally, I don't believe that liberal theology supports free speech. I do believe it supports the new definition of tolerance- I tolerate those who agree with me.

    I would rather ALL sides be represented and I form educated sound opinions off of all perspectives. I think it is good to listen and understand everyone's perspective.

    -- Posted by beg on Sat, Nov 21, 2020, at 12:09 AM
  • Beg,

    You need to stop using the term "liberal theology", this isn't about religion. I think that most liberals will be tolerant of your speech until you start lying and using some fuzzy logic. Or, speech that is harmful to people. Forget about politics, do you think dishonesty should to be treated as equal to truth, or meanness as equal to virtue? Isn't your freedom to lie and be a jerk equal to my freedom to denounce it and prevent it from having a platform?

    -- Posted by Raker on Sat, Nov 21, 2020, at 2:03 AM
  • What time is the book burning on campus? Asking for a friend...

    -- Posted by concernedcitizen3 on Sat, Nov 21, 2020, at 9:25 AM
  • Concerned citizen. What a sad comment to make. Maybe you should reread this article.

    -- Posted by Nit on Sat, Nov 21, 2020, at 11:38 AM
  • oh, the irony

    -- Posted by beg on Sun, Nov 22, 2020, at 3:06 PM
  • Ok boomer

    -- Posted by Raker on Sun, Nov 22, 2020, at 5:00 PM
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