Committee issues call for feedback on diversity of thought and freedom of expression


An advisory committee on diversity of thought and freedom of expression has issued a call for feedback to faculty, students and staff on all three campuses and the medical center, seeking input on how well the University of Michigan is living up to a set of principles adopted by the Board of Regents in January.

The goal is to gather information on the university’s climate for freedom of expression and diversity of thought and to seek opinions as to whether the university should adopt a policy of institutional neutrality, akin to the University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report, in order to foster freedom of inquiry and maintain independence from, as Kalven notes, “political fashions, passions, and pressures.”

“We have chosen to use open-ended questions to provide a full opportunity for you to share your experiences and unique point of view in the manner you think best,” the committee wrote in an email that is scheduled to be sent to the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses and the medical center May 28. The six open-ended questions are presented to the user by topic on multiple screens.

Valid U-M credentials are required to access the survey in order to limit respondents to the university community. The call for input does not collect user name information or other metadata, and responses will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. It will remain open until June 30, 2024.



  1. Gennady Fiksel
    on May 29, 2024 at 11:31 am

    I support the idea of institutional neutrality. The primary purpose of the University must be education and education only. The university must abstain from supporting, approving, or disapproving any political issues or organizations. Not only that, but it also must undertake any measures, as long as they do not contradict the federal and state laws and Constitution, to prevent interrupting the educational and related process on campus.

  2. Judah Perillo
    on May 30, 2024 at 10:02 am

    All institutions are inherently political; abstaining from positions is also a political move, and to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest. Claiming “neutrality” is a bogus attempt to recuse the institution from any ethical or civic responsibility, which is nonsense. Education without politics is pointless; education does not exist in a vacuum, the University does not exist in a vacuum, and our students should be educated on how to engage in the world as ethical participants. To pretend “education” can be disentangled from political reality is intellectually dishonest.

    It is also darkly comical to discuss diversity of freedom and thought while making such vast attempts to repress student activism, pro Palestinian activism, on campus, and refusing to engage with current student activism other than to bring a violent police raid on them and to request felony charges.

    Why do we, as UM staff, faculty, students, community members, have the right to not be interrupted while any money that our institution invests goes into making bombs that are dropped in Gaza? The UM endowment being invested in any sort of arms manufacturing or war-making companies is political; it is absolutely not neutral. There are no universities left in Gaza. Did those staff, faculty, students, and community members have a right to not be interrupted? Why does our comfort supersede the rights of human beings being brutally killed?

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