Alumni organize to fight cancel culture

The Alumni Free Speech Alliance says it will stand up for students and faculty who are targeted by others due to controversial speech.

The nonpartisan organization is made up of alumni from five schools across the country.

The Alumni Free Speech Alliance announced yesterday that it will mobilize alumni to lobby colleges to protect speech that goes against the prevailing campus orthodoxy. 

The organization comprises alumni from five major universities: Cornell University, Davidson College, Princeton University, Washington and Lee University, and the University of Virginia.  

Stuart Taylor, whose group Princetonians for Free Speech is a founding member of the Alliance, told Campus Reform that any group that accepts the mission of the Alliance can join it.”

“The founders of the Alumni Alliance for Free Speech are convinced that it is only alumni who can lead the defense of free speech on campus effectively and that it is only by organizing that alumni can be effective," he added.

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Taylor also added that ideological diversity is welcome within the Alliance.

“The member groups need not agree on everything -- just on the principle that nonpartisan defense of free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity is a primary value of all Alliance members,” Taylor said.

Ed Yingling, who co-founded Princetonians for Free Speech with Taylor, said in a press release obtained by Campus Reform, “Free speech and academic freedom are critical to the advancement of knowledge and to the success of our colleges and universities, yet these basic principles are under attack today at schools across the country.”

Campus Reform also spoke with John Craig, chairman of Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought and Discourse, alumni from Davidson College in North Carolina.

"We are making some progress and the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, of which we are founding members, will boost our efforts," Craig said.

Craig also expressed the Davidsonians' intent to help other alumni create their own groups. 

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AFSA’s founding comes at a busy time for alumni engagement in campus culture. 

As Campus Reform reported earlier this year, alumni of the University of Texas – Austin threatened to withdraw donations if the school discontinued playing a controversial but beloved song at football games. When alumni threatened to pull their donations, the university backed down and allowed the song to stay. 

In August, a group of St. Joseph’s University alumni planned to halt future donations when the university declined to renew a professor's contract after he anonymously criticized race-based bias trainings.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito