Letter on Intellectual Diversity · 17 September 2004

Note: The following letter was sent to the presidents of 88 colleges and universities in 7 states during the summer of 2004. For more information on this project, please read the National Campus Director's letter .

[Date]

[University President]
[Office of the President]
[Address]

Dear President [X],

I am the national campus director of Students for Academic Freedom, a student organization dedicated to promoting academic freedom, intellectual diversity, and civility on American university campuses. We currently have chapters at over 135 institutions of higher learning nationwide.

As you may know, the Georgia Senate recently passed a resolution by an overwhelming margin calling upon state institutions to incorporate principles of the Academic Bill of Rights into university policy. The university and state college systems of Colorado have recently agreed to implement many of these principles voluntarily. I am attaching a copy of the Academic Bill of Rights and an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that describes our achievements. You can view the legislative resolutions and other documents relating to our mission on our website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org.

In accord with the spirit of the Academic Bill of Rights, I would like you to consider incorporating intellectual, religious and political diversity in your institution's diversity mandate. This would protect all students at [NAME OF SCHOOL] from being treated as second class citizens and would promote a climate of intellectual pluralism that is essential to a liberal education. Our organization has drafted a simple policy statement, based on the diversity and free speech policies of Yale University. I hope you will consider adopting this statement before the fall term.

Statement on Diversity:

This office was established with the premise that expanding diversity within the university enhances the educational experience and furthers the understanding of the entire scholarly community. An atmosphere of civility and mutual respect towards difference is indispensable to the educational process and enables the free interchange of ideas that is the basis of scholarship. These differences may be immutable or changeable, cultural, ethnic, religious, intellectual, ideological or political. Each of these qualities is integral to the identity we form as individuals, and all are essential to creating a vibrant university community composed of individuals with unique perspectives and backgrounds. The university must commit itself to a policy of inclusion, respect for difference, and fairness, and guarantee the same rights and freedoms to all its members to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom.

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom
1015 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-969-2467
Fax: 202-408-0632
www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org