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Don’t Count on University Alumni to Protect Free Speech

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Don’t Count on University Alumni to Protect Free Speech

UnHerd December 3, 2021
EducationHigher Ed
OtherCulture & Society

Some donors are applying pressure — but others are fighting back

Can alumni save the American university from the illiberal progressive onslaught? A piece in the Wall Street Journal reports that the country’s alumni are increasingly organising to ‘defund’ their alma maters until they get their free speech houses in order. At Washington and Lee University, an alumni group sent over 10,000 emails to alumni calling on them to suspend donations until the university stopped disassociating itself from its namesakes George Washington and Robert E. Lee.

Twenty new organisations have been formed in the past few years and a new national donor organisation, the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, sprang up in October. This new activism is important: witness the way donor pressure prevented Cecil Rhodes’s statue from being removed from Oriel College, Oxford. But alumni pressure, while valuable, is unlikely to change the direction of travel on campus.

Continue reading the entire piece here at UnHerd

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Eric Kaufmann is professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

Photo DenisTangneyJr/iStock

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