The Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression
"Now more than ever, there exists a rising tension between our commitment to safeguard freedom of expression and our commitment to promote an inclusive and nurturing learning environment for all."
— Farnam Jahanian, President
Charges to the Commission
There are five charges to The Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression:
- Create forums through which students, faculty and staff can discuss and explore the meaning and inherent value of both freedom of expression and academic freedom, including how they are distinct and the ways in which they collectively support our academic mission;
- Engage the campus community in discussion about the rising tension between upholding freedom of expression and supporting a campus environment that is inclusive and respectful. After conducting such community discussions, provide the commission’s recommendations on how the university can promote civil discourse and manage situations when these core values come into conflict, including how these considerations may affect the university’s Freedom of Expression policy.
- Explore how academic freedom as well as professional codes of conduct pertain to the expression of opinions in both professional and private capacities, with a particular focus on the contemporary context of social media and internet communication. In doing so, evaluate the current language in CMU’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, which specifically states that it is applicable to “individuals who are paid by the University when they are working for the University, including faculty, staff and students when working for the University."
- In addition to considering these macro issues, determine how they apply to the following questions related to university policies and practices:
- Does our current practice of affording wide discretion to the heads of departments, centers and institutes to make appointments for positions such as fellows, artists-in-residence, entrepreneurs-in-residence, visiting faculty, professors of the practice and the like, without further substantive review, serve the university well, or should additional levels of review be required, and if so in what circumstances?
- Should there be an additional process established when considering the hire of a highly visible public figure, while ensuring that any such process should avoid including any type of political or ideological litmus test?
- Share updates with the campus community on the progress of this commission as its work unfolds, as well as provide an interim report by the end of June 2021.
The Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression Speaker Series
Upcoming Online Event Speakers
Dr. Randal L. Kennedy
Michael R. Klein Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
5 to 6 p.m.
Online student sessions will be held after the event.
Dr. Keith E. Whittington
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics
Thursday, September 23, 2021
5 to 6 p.m.
Online student sessions will be held after the event.
Stay tuned for additional announcements about the fall 2021 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 email@example.com.
Previous Online Events
Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Author of Free Speech on Campus (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)
Dean, University of California Berkeley School of Law
Author of Free Speech on Campus (Yale University Press, 2017)
Jim Garrett, Chair, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Jon Caulkins, Vice Chair, H. Guyford Stever University Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy, HC
Roberta Klatzky, Vice Chair, Charles J. Queenan, Jr. University Professor of Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction, DC
Jonathan Aldrich, Professor, Institute for Software Research and Computer Science Department, School of Computer Science
Erica Cochran Hameen, Assistant Professor, Architecture, College of Fine Arts; Co-Director, Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics
Lorrie Cranor, FORE Systems Professor, Director and Bosch Distinguished Professor in Security and Privacy Technologies, School of Computer Science
Phoebe Dinh, Doctoral student, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Scott Dodelson, Professor of Physics and Department Head, Mellon College of Science
Rebecca Doerge, Glen de Vries Dean of the Mellon College of Science
Evan Feder, Master's student, School of Computer Science
Holly Hippensteel, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Mark Kamlet, University Professor of Economics and Public Policy; Provost Emeritus, Heinz College and Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Alex Jackson, Master’s Student, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy
David Kaufer, Mellon Distinguished Professor of English, Director of Rhetoric Program, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
John Lehoczky, Faculty Senate Chair and Thomas Lord University Professor of Statistics, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Golan Levin, Director, Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Professor of Art, School of Art, Center for the Arts
Jose Moura, Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
Megan Rivas, Interim Head of School, Associate Professor, Dramaturgy, College of Fine Arts
Anne Robinson, Trustee Professor and Department Head Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Denise Rousseau, HJ Heinz II University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Public Policy, Heinz College
Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Julia Scherb, Undergraduate Student, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Alan Scheller-Wolf, Richard M. Cyert Professor of Operation Management, Tepper School of Business
Peter Spirtes, Professor, Philosophy, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Molly Steenson, Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Fine Arts; K&L Gates Associate Professor of Ethics & Computational Technologies; Associate Professor in the School of Design
David Touretzky, Research Professor, Computer Science Department and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, School of Computer Science
Joe Trotter, University Professor, Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jeanne VanBriesen, Duquesne Light Company Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty, College of Engineering
Jason Wagner, Chair, Staff Council and Senior Associate Director, MBA Student Services, Tepper School of Business
Keith Webster, Dean of the Libraries
Laurie Weingart, Richard M. and Margaret S. Cyert Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory, Tepper School of Business
Sarah Wenger, Undergraduate Student, Mellon College of Science
Advisor to the Commission:
Mary Jo Dively, Vice President and General Counsel
Staff to the Commission:
Patience Whitworth, Assistant Vice Provost for Operations and Strategic Initiatives