AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

CONDEMNING ATTEMPTS TO CONSTRAIN FREE EXPRESSION AT COLLEGES

WHEREAS, the free exchange of ideas and opinions is the very foundation of education in our nation, in our state and on our cherished campuses; and

WHEREAS, a cornerstone of democracy is the free expression of political, social, cultural and economic ideas; and a cornerstone of democracy is the right of people to assemble to exchange and express these ideas; and these freedoms have been guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution since 1791; and

WHEREAS, we believe that our campuses should be bastions of free expression, and we devoutly defend First Amendment rights, as these values represent our highest duty to education and fostering democracy; and

WHEREAS, several colleges have passed or proposed severe restrictions related to the use of facilities for First Amendment activities; and

WHEREAS, these proposals limit the times of day for free speech expression; limit the number of hours such expression can occur daily; limit the size of signs; limit the number of signs that can be held; require advance notice for free expression; require bonds to be posted for First Amendment activities; or quarantine First Amendment activities to specific areas, among other injuries and attempts to constrain and impede free expression; and

WHEREAS, "free speech zones," which sequester free expression, are inimical to our values as educators; and

WHEREAS, the intentions of these limitations are wholly contradictory to the core principles of the American Federation of Teachers, and indeed contradict the fundamental values of our national democracy; and

WHEREAS, for centuries our colleges have preserved and nurtured freedom of expression, a heritage we honor and shall not forget:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will condemn in the strongest terms attempts to constrain free speech on college and university campuses; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will strenuously oppose all efforts to limit free speech on our campuses, and will encourage its members to have their say before their boards of trustees and administrations, and will support those who labor to preserve that right; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will disseminate this resolution to its members so that they, too, will understand these proposals as representing a destructive trend in our country and resist efforts to limit free speech at their colleges and universities when such attempts occur.


(2012)