Our Statement of Principles is Students for Free Expression’s founding document.
Our Statement of Principles
Why We’re Here and Who We Are
The Free Speech Movement began as an entirely student-led initiative. However, free speech has been increasingly undermined by attempts of students and administrators alike to silence those with whom they disagree. We seek to reclaim that original tradition with this student-created Statement of Principles.
We, the undersigned, stand united in our shared conviction that free expression is critical to our society, in spite of our differing backgrounds, perspectives, and ideologies.
What We Believe
A central purpose of education is to teach students to challenge themselves and engage with opposing perspectives. Our ability to listen to, wrestle with, and ultimately decide between contending viewpoints fosters mutual understanding as well as personal and societal growth. The active defense of free and open discourse is crucial for our society to continue to thrive as a democracy premised on the open debate of ideas.
The only way to achieve this is by cultivating a culture where all are free to communicate without fear of censorship or intimidation. While some speech may be objectionable and even hateful, constitutionally protected speech ought to be held and enforced as the standard and must not be infringed upon. As Justice Louis Brandeis observed exactly ninety years ago, “those who won our independence believed . . . that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievance and proposed remedies,” and that “the fitting remedy for evil counsels” is not disruption, violence, or suppression, “but good ones.”
What You Can Do
Our vision is to foster a nationwide community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other friends who support free expression. If you share our passion for free speech, viewpoint diversity, and open discourse, please sign onto this Statement of Principles and encourage your community to do the same.