Carnegie Mellon University

The Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression

In December 2020, President Farnam Jahanian charged this Commission to explore and clarify our commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression in a contemporary context. In addition to exploring matters related to university policies and practices, the commission's charge included creating forums through which students, faculty and staff can explore the meaning and inherent value of both these principles, including how they are distinct and the ways in which they collectively support our academic mission.

The commission's final report and recommendations were shared with the university community in October 2022. 



Commission Recommendations

Constitute an Implementation Steering Committee headed by the Provost to follow through on the commission’s recommendations.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

Explore the hiring of an advocate for Academic Freedom/Freedom of Expression (AF/FoE) to serve as a resource on AF/FoE for the campus community.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

Articulate AF/FoE as a core university value, along with the idea that AF/FoE is complementary to ensuring mutual respect and inclusion.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

Following the procedures set out in the existing Policy on Policy Development consider the commission's suggested changes to amend three university policies: those on Freedom of Expression, the Policy on Separation of Individual’s and Institution’s Interests, and the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

Formulate and implement activities for education and training, including an ongoing speaker series representing diverse views; an assessment of existing and new courses related to AF/FoE; and other opportunities for engagement.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

While reaffirming unit-level decision making around hiring, the Implementation Committee will investigate the feasibility of making two narrowly tailored potential changes to address situations in which hiring decisions made by one unit can create harm to the wider university.

Committed ▸ In Progress ▸ Implemented

The Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression Speaker Series

Stay tuned for additional announcements about upcoming event series that will include additional speakers from other viewpoints, case study discussions, panels and other community forums.

If you have ideas for speakers or community engagement formats, please email them to

Please be advised that while these discussions are situated within specific contexts, we acknowledge that audiences may find some of the content triggering or offensive. It is important for CMU, as an institution of higher education, to provide forums that enable individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to engage in important dialogue. Experiencing different perspectives is key to the academic and social fiber of Carnegie Mellon University.

Previous Online Event Speakers

Keith E. Whittington, Ph.D. 

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics
Princeton University

Randall L. Kennedy, J.D.

Michael R. Klein Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

Sigal Ben-Porath, Ph.D.

Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Author of Free Speech on Campus (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

Erwin Chemerinsky, J.D.

Dean, University of California Berkeley School of Law
Author of Free Speech on Campus (Yale University Press, 2017)

Implementation Committee Members

James H. Garrett, Jr., Chair, Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Shelley Anna, Vice Provost for Faculty 

Gina Casalegno, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Jon Caulkins, H. Guyford Stever University Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy, HC

Mary Jo Dively, Vice President and General Counsel

Wanda Heading-Grant, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Roberta Klatzky, Charles J. Queenan, Jr. University Professor of Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction, DC

Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Keith Webster, Dean of the Libraries

Patience WhitworthAssociate Vice Provost for Student Success and Strategic Initiatives