Bolstering Free Speech at Yale

For decades, Yale’s free speech principles, enshrined in the Woodward Report, have called for “the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.” This ideal is the cornerstone of a true liberal education and is crucial to sustaining a free society.

Woodward Report

In 1974, Yale published the Woodward Report, a document that established Yale’s free speech principles for the first time in the university’s history.

The Committee on Free Expression at Yale was created by then President of Yale Kingman Brewster, Jr. following several incidents where speakers were disinvited from campus. The intellectual climate on Yale’s campus was such that the Yale College Faculty passed a resolution requesting Brewster “appoint a faculty commission to examine the condition of free expression, peaceful dissent, mutual respect and tolerance at Yale, to draft recommendations for any measures it may deem necessary for the maintenance of those principles, and to report to the faculties of the University…”

Read the context around the creation of the report and sign a petition calling on Yale to recommit to the free speech principles of the Woodward Report

“Liberal views are now not only the norm but the expected norm, and any deviation from it (except toward the authoritarian left) is not permitted. Being a centrist myself I think Buckley’s mere existence helps push back against this culture…”

— Yale Student ’23

“I believe the university lives or dies by the existence of free inquiry on campus. As such, the Buckley Program’s emphasis on fostering viewpoint diversity is the most important thing the Buckley Program could accomplish.”

— Yale Student ’24

“We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox.”

— Woodward Report

“We take a chance, as the First Amendment takes a chance, when we commit ourselves to the idea that the results of free expression are to the general benefit in the long run, however unpleasant they may appear at the time.”

— Woodward Report

“To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.”

— Woodward Report

“The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

— Woodward Report


Lauren Noble – RealClearEducation, 3/7/24
Is Yale about to Repeat Harvard’s Mistakes?

Trevor MacKay – Yale Daily News, 2/13/24
Disagree. Please.

Stephen L. Carter – The New York Times, 1/24/24
College Is All About Curiosity. And That Requires Free Speech.

Lauren Noble – RealClearEducation, 12/21/23
Yale’s President Is Lucky He Didn’t Testify Before Congress

Lauren Noble – The Washington Times, 11/16/23
Antisemitism on campus is no surprise

Lauren Noble – National Review, 10/18/23
Yale’s Case Study in Free-Speech Hypocrisy

Lauren Noble – RealClearEducation, 6/27/23
Yale’s Ideological Echo Chamber

Lauren Noble – Deseret News, 5/1/23
Campus chill

Lauren Noble – The Wall Street Journal, 1/24/23
What If the Students Want Speech to Be Compelled?

Lauren Noble – The Washington Times, 11/30/22
Yale going out of its way to hide from accountability

Lauren Noble – Washington Examiner, 11/1/22
Yale Law School still refusing to correct its anti-free speech ways

Lauren Noble RealClearEducation, 9/28/22
Yale Is Abandoning Its Own Free Speech Codes

Libby Snowden – FIRE, 7/28/22
Neither lux nor veritas: Yale pairs speech-protective policies with a culture of intolerance

Stanley Kurtz – National Review, 3/23/22
How to Discipline the Yale Law School Shout-Down

Jordan Howell – FIRE, 10/7/21
Court filing: Yale’s lawyers make surprising claims about the school’s academic freedom promises

Lily Rogers – FIRE, 8/10/18
What ever happened to the Woodward Report?

José Cabranes – Yale Law and Policy Review, 1/13/17
For Freedom of Expression, For Due Process, and For Yale: The Emerging Threat to Academic Freedom at a Great University

Steven Benner (student Woodward Report signatory) – Yale Daily News, 12/3/15
BENNER: The Woodward Report today

President Peter Salovey – The Freshman Address, 8/22/14
Free Speech at Yale


February 2024 – Overcoming Campus Illiberalism

September 2023 – Civil Discourse in an Age of Incivility

June 2023 – Faculty Political Diversity at Yale and Beyond

November 2022 – Is Free Speech Dead on Campus?

September 2022 – Combating Hate: Censorship or Free Speech?

May 2022 – Defending Free Speech on Campus

December 2021 – Can Alumni and Trustees Rescue the American University?

October 2021 – What is Happening to Free Speech at Yale Law School?