ICYMI: National Review Op-Ed: Buckley Program Leads the Way

Buckley Program Founder and Executive Director Lauren Noble took to the pages of National Review to talk about the challenges to free speech on Yale’s campus and how the Buckley Program is turning the tide.

A movement is growing in defense of free speech and viewpoint diversity at our nation’s elite educational institutions. The Buckley Program leads the way.

To be fair, Yale has not been a bastion of free speech. Earlier this year, Yale received a Lifetime Censorship Award from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) for “repeatedly violating the free expression and academic freedom rights of students and scholars.” In 2021, FIRE ranked Yale 131 out of 159 schools for student comfort in sharing their opinions in “writing, in class, and among their peers and professors.”

But there’s good news. During the 2021-2022 academic year, for the first time ever, the William F. Buckley Program at Yale had more than 500 student fellows simultaneously

Considering Yale has around 6,500 undergraduates in total, this means that almost 8 percent of Yale undergraduates turn to the Buckley Program to receive the well-rounded education they sought at Yale in the first place. What is Yale offering, if not an education that challenges its students intellectually and academically?

The more than 500 Buckley Program student fellows seek out ideas that challenge their priors despite the risks. Students end vacations early to read Thucydides, discuss the Federalist Papers, and learn political lessons from Shakespeare’s Tempest. They bring heterodox voices to campus so conservative and liberal students can benefit from diverse perspectives.

While the ideological makeup of the Buckley Program at Yale is by no means monolithic, the program is making a difference. According to the most recent survey of graduating fellows, over their four years at Yale, self-identified progressive students became more libertarian or moderate overall, contradicting the standard narrative that all college students are or become radical leftists.

All is not lost on America’s college campuses. A movement is growing in defense of free speech and viewpoint diversity at our nation’s elite educational institutions. Students, like those at Yale, have demonstrated that they are thirsty for perspectives otherwise lacking on campus. The tide is turning, and the Buckley Program at Yale is a part of that sea change.

Read the full piece here.