The UNC Free Speech Alliance: A Conversation with a Founding Member


Members of Praxis Circle have been hard at work fighting for free speech on today’s most impervious battleground—colleges and universities. You might remember a previous post where we highlighted an interview (Fox News) with founding members of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, including PC Contributor Jim Bacon who represents the organization for UVA (The Jefferson Council).

Since then, the Alumni Free Speech Alliance has gained national attention (Wall Street Journal). Many more schools are joining the alliance, producing an extra boost of steam to keep advocating for diversity of opinion, academic freedom, and balanced curricula on today’s campuses.

Linked at top is a recent interview (video above and linked transcript in the title just below the video) with the James G. Martin Center of Academic Renewal of PC Contributor Frank Hill, a founding member for the UNC AFSA, who shares his personal experience and explains the heart of the mission behind the Alumni Free Speech Alliance. The National Review also wrote a complimentary article about the organization, stating that, “This is a good development. Let’s hope that it continues spreading.”

Walter Smith, Jefferson Council board member, recently wrote about his Freedom of Information Request and investigation into UVA’s “Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry” to see if they really are upholding free speech on campus to a constitutional standard.

In a sad twist of irony, Walter shares that the committee has been less than transparent with what is being said about free speech behind closed doors. The article was published in Bacon’s Rebellion, an online news portal Jim Bacon founded. Bacon’s Rebellion supports freedom of speech and other First Amendment rights in Virginia and beyond.



Below are a few clips from Jim’s interview with us explaining the free speech problem, why it hurts students, and how it’s currently being handled in the world of academia:






Now you might be wondering to yourself, what does free speech have to do with worldview? Simply put, everyone should be free to express their worldview—even if you disagree with it.

Why? Not only because freedom of speech is a fundamental right that all truly free countries depend on, but because we will never understand why people think the way they do if we silence dissenting opinions or beliefs. We will never understand “the Other” (or vice versa), which the Far Left seems particularly concerned with.

In any search for the truth, whether in the humanities, social science, STEM, or business, free speech is bedrock.

The work of Praxis Circle to renew a free and good society quite literally depends on our ability to communicate ideas—often challenging or even upsetting—in order to build a community that can successfully navigate a sea of worldviews in a compassionate, articulate, and impactful way.

Someone once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” We, too, believe your voice is worth protecting, and we are thankful for those who decide to fight for it.

What’s free speech got to do with your alma mater?

Which comes first, love or truth?

We believe they fly united.




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