Committee to advise on diversity of thought, free expression


The University of Michigan has formed an advisory committee to recommend how the institution should put into practice a new statement of principles on diversity of thought and freedom of expression.

The committee includes faculty, staff and students from across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses and Michigan Medicine, and is tasked with evaluating how the university is living up to the principles approved by the Board of Regents in January.

The 42-member Committee on the University of Michigan Principles on Diversity of Thought and Freedom of Expression also will identify actions the university can take to bring it closer to the aspirations embodied in the principles, which state in part that “we enthusiastically embrace our responsibility to stimulate and support diverse ideas and model constructive engagement with different viewpoints.”

The committee’s duties also include determining whether the university should adopt some form of the standards set out in the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report. That 1967 document recommended that the university remain neutral on important social and political issues to “sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures.”

“The University of Michigan has a rich tradition of free expression,” said Timothy G. Lynch, vice president and general counsel, who will chair the committee. “At this trying time across higher education, it’s even more important to reaffirm our commitment to diversity of thought and freedom of expression.

“This committee is designed to take stock of where we are, help this great institution live up to its highest ideals, and provide a model for other colleges and universities.”

Lynch led the process of developing and refining the university’s principles, including incorporating feedback from the university community. The principles reinforce U-M’s commitment to freedom of speech as articulated in its longstanding policy adopted in 1988, Standard Practice Guide 601.01. That policy remains in effect.

“I appreciate the work of Tim and the entire committee for all of the time, energy and deliberation they will be putting into this important initiative,” President Santa J. Ono said. “Regardless of the controversies of the day, our university must steadfastly uphold our principles of diversity of thought and freedom of expression.”

The committee will solicit further input from the university community and is charged with providing a report with recommendations to the President’s Office and the Board of Regents.

Other committee members include:

  • Michelle Adams, Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law and professor of law, Law School.
  • Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; Max Shaye Professor of Public Philosophy, John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies, and professor of philosophy, and of women’s and gender studies, LSA; and professor of law, Law School.
  • Jay Baer, chief of staff, LSA.
  • Jenna Bednar, professor of public policy and associate dean for academic affairs, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; and professor of political science, LSA.
  • Jack Bernard, associate general counsel; and intermittent lecturer in law and adjunct lecturer in law, Law School.
  • Sybil Biermann, professor of orthopaedic surgery and associate dean, graduate medical education, Medical School.
  • Thomas M. Braun, professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health; chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.
  • Daniel T. Chang, Isadore Lampe Collegiate Professor of Radiation Oncology and professor and chair of radiation oncology, Medical School.
  • Colleen M. Conway, professor of music education, School of Music, Theatre & Dance; and former chair of SACUA.
  • Daniel A. Crane, Richard W. Pogue Professor of Law, Frederick Paul Furth, Sr. Professor of Law, and professor of law, Law School.
  • Kristina B. Daugirdas, Francis A. Allen Collegiate Professor of Law, professor of law, and associate dean for academic programming, Law School.
  • Linda Gregerson, Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English, professor of English language and literature, and director of the MFA Program, LSA.
  • Meera Herle, president of Central Student Government, and undergraduate student in public policy.
  • Kirsten Herold, lecturer IV, SPH; and president of the Lecturers’ Employee Organization.
  • Don Herzog, Edson R. Sunderland Professor of Law and professor of law, Law School; and professor of political science, LSA.
  • Raffi Indjejikian, Carleton H. Griffin-Deloitte and Touche LLP Collegiate Professor of Accounting and professor of accounting, Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
  • Holly Jarman, associate professor of health management and policy and of global public health, SPH.
  • Ellen D. Katz, Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law and professor of law, and associate dean for academic programming, Law School.
  • Aliyah Khan, associate professor of English language and literature, and of Afroamerican and African studies, and director of the Global Islamic Studies Center in the International Institute, LSA.
  • Ken Kollman, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor and professor of political science, LSA; and research professor and director of the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research.
  • Mika LaVaque-Manty, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; associate professor of political science, of philosophy, and in the Honors Program, and director of the Honors Program, LSA.
  • Laura K. Lee, director of communications and outreach, Ford School.
  • Maureen Linker, associate provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs; and professor of philosophy, College of Arts, Sciences and Letters, UM-Dearborn.
  • Allen Liu, associate professor of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering; associate professor of biomedical engineering, CoE and Medical School; associate professor of biophysics, LSA; and former chair of SACUA.
  • Mingyan Liu, Alice L. Hunt Collegiate Professor of Engineering, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and associate dean for academic affairs, CoE.
  • Scott Richard Lyons, associate professor of English language and literature, LSA.
  • Cameron McLeman, associate professor of mathematics and director of the Institute of Data Engineering, Analytics, and Science, College of Innovation and Technology, UM-Flint.
  • Colleen Mastony, assistant vice president for public affairs, Office of the Vice President for Communications.
  • Gabriel Mendlow, professor of law, Law School; and professor of philosophy, LSA.
  • Gregory S. Miller, Ernst and Young Professor of Accounting and professor of accounting, Ross School.
  • Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education, and professor of education, Marsal Family School of Education; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; and faculty associate in the Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research.
  • Ganesh S. Palapattu, George F. and Sandra G. Valassis Professor of Urology, and professor and chair of urology, Medical School.
  • Susan Scott Parrish, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; professor of English language and literature, LSA; professor of Program in the Environment, LSA and School for Environment and Sustainability; and chair of the Michigan Society of Fellows.
  • Alisse Portnoy, associate professor of English language and literature, LSA.
  • Angelica Previero, president of Rackham Student Government and doctoral candidate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, LSA.
  • Paul Resnick, Michael D. Cohen Collegiate Professor of Information, professor of information, and associate dean for research and innovation, School of Information.
  • Chandra Sripada, Theophile Raphael Research Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and professor of psychiatry, Medical School; and director of the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of psychology, LSA.
  • Gregory Teachout, director of communications and strategic initiatives, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Charles Watkinson, associate university librarian for publishing, and librarian in the University Library, and director of the University of Michigan Press.
  • Rebecca Scharbach Wollenberg, assistant professor of Judaic studies, LSA.
  • Ekow N. Yankah, Thomas M. Cooley Professor of Law, professor of law and associate dean for faculty and research, Law School; and professor of philosophy, LSA.


  1. Tina Ronders
    on March 5, 2024 at 7:42 am

    I believe in and appreciate creating a team of colleagues to overlook protection of expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas with openness and without retaliation; where are the clerks, housekeepers, coordinators, cooks or those on the front line in this list of team members? Isn’t the best way to understand what is happening with our staff and community members is to have those hidden members be part of your committee? Don’t those voices count too? Perhaps I am missing something. Thank you for your time.

  2. Darryl Baird
    on March 5, 2024 at 10:11 am

    Of all the groups represented by this distinguished body of faculty, I’m a little surprised there are none from the arts. Freedom of expression is central to any freedom to make art.

    Darryl Baird
    Emeritus Professor of Art

  3. Christian Gerstheimer
    on March 5, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    I second Professor emeritus Baird’s comments. The 42 member committee should include at least one representative from the field of visual art, and more than one from Flint also.

  4. Monita Thompson
    on March 5, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    Why is there no Student Life representation on this committee?

  5. Dan Green
    on March 5, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    It is concerning that there is not many students represented or Student Life representation. What’s up with that?

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