Washington, D.C. | November 1, 2023 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the country’s largest Arab-American grassroots organization, is urging universities and colleges to remain steadfast in upholding the principles of academic freedom and free speech.
We are deeply concerned about the growing “Palestine Exception” to free speech and academic freedom on college campuses across the United States.
Rejecting baseless calls to investigate or penalize student groups for exercising their constitutional rights is essential in fostering an environment where dialogue and understanding can flourish.
Recent actions, such as the deactivation of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters at public universities in Florida, have raised alarm about the suppression of free speech on campus. Advocacy, even when it includes controversial or unpopular views, is protected by the First Amendment.
History has shown that ideologically driven efforts to police speech are destructive. The McCarthy era is a stark reminder that investigations based on ideology can undermine the very foundations of academic communities. Universities should be places of vigorous debate and free inquiry, and initiating baseless investigations into disfavored views can chill speech and foster an atmosphere of mutual suspicion.