In looking at the proposed agenda for the University Senate plenary scheduled for this afternoon, Bwog noticed one particular proposed resolution that stood out. As part of new business, the senate plans to address a proposed resolution affirming the University of Chicago’s report on freedom of expression.
It is important to note that this report is not the letter that UChicago sent out to its class of 2020 on the topic of not supporting trigger warnings, nor the open letter the faculty wrote in response to the former letter. Instead, the report was issued by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago, a separate entity that was appointed in July 2014, long before either of those letters were sent.
That said, the question remains why Columbia would choose to affirm this statement instead of crafting its own in response to the discourse surrounding the implementation of safe spaces and trigger warnings on campus and in the classroom.
Here is the text of the proposed resolution:
WHEREAS, freedom of expression is essential for what a university is and does, and
WHEREAS, Columbia University has long been a strong supporter of freedom of expression, and
WHEREAS, that support is expressed in the Affirmative Statement in the Rules of University Conduct, and
WHEREAS, freedom of expression on college campuses has come under attack in recent years and has become a contested national issue, and
WHEREAS, the University of Chicago’s Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression is a balanced approach to the issue,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Columbia University Senate subscribe to the principles in the University of Chicago statement.
The report by the University of Chicago committee can be found following the proposed resolution. The plenary to discuss the resolution will take place at 1:15 PM this afternoon in 1501 International Affairs.
Updates on the plenary to come.
Update (9/23/16, 2:34pm): While this resolution was discussed by the University Senate at the plenary, no vote was made. The resolution is still open, and will be discussed further at later meetings. Full coverage of the plenary to come this evening.