In defense of academic freedom at the University of Nebraska

July 22, 2021

Image with file name: Carter0212020.jpg

On Wednesday, University of Nebraska President Ted Carter was joined by the chancellors of UNMC, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska at Omaha in releasing the following message to the university community:

To the Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Nebraska:

Recently there has been a great deal of conversation across our campuses about academic freedom and its importance to our university. Today we issue the following unified statement in defense of freedom of expression for all members of the University of Nebraska community:

The free and open pursuit of ideas is a cherished principle in higher education, and its preservation is vital for any great university. As our policies and practices make clear, the University of Nebraska is strongly committed to academic freedom. We support and defend the liberties our teachers and learners have to freely discuss ideas in and outside of the classroom.

Our central mission is to educate Nebraska's future leaders, and in preparing students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens, our instructors expose them to any number of concepts and ideas. Issues around race, equity and the fight against racism are an important part of our country's story and they have an appropriate place in our classrooms. Our policies guard against the introduction of matters that are irrelevant to the subject at hand. We further expect and believe that in discussing ideas, our instructors make their classrooms places of robust and open debate, where all viewpoints are considered and all may express their opinions freely.

That commitment to free expression is at the heart of our work as an institution of higher learning.

Regent Jim Pillen has notified us that he intends to place a resolution regarding critical race theory on the agenda for the Aug. 13 Board of Regents meeting. The meeting agenda will be finalized on August 6. As we have shared with Regent Pillen, we have significant concerns about the resolution and how it would be interpreted by the faculty, staff and students we hope to recruit and retain. We will continue to work together and with the board to vigorously protect and defend academic freedom at the University of Nebraska.

Thank you for all that you do for our university.

Ted Carter
President, University of Nebraska System

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD
Chancellor, UNMC

Ronnie D. Green, PhD
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Doug Kristensen, JD
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Joanne Li, PhD, CFA
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Katherine Kaiser
July 23, 2021 at 11:28 AM

This statement and attention is truly appreciated. Katherine Kaiser, PhD. Professor Emeritus