Since its founding in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies has defended the values and principles underpinning the conditions for producing and sharing humanistic knowledge. Study and inquiry cannot be pursued in a state of fear.

In recent weeks, university administrators around the country have responded to student protests on their campuses by calling on local and state police forces to evict peaceful protestors. Students engaging in their right to protest have been arrested, suspended, and otherwise punished. We deplore the excessively punitive attitude taken toward protesting students.

We understand that universities establish reasonable and content-neutral restrictions on the time, place, and manner of protests and gatherings. Such procedures should be enforced judiciously, avoiding escalation and the use of armed police whenever possible.

We reaffirm the right of professors and students to teach, as well as the right to learn. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are central to this endeavor. As a representative of a large and diverse community of scholars, we have no shared position on the issues at the heart of the student protests.

But we do believe that, while administrators have every right and duty to secure the safety of their campus communities, they cannot and should not shield students or others from the experience of hearing strongly-worded statements which might make them deeply uncomfortable. It is the nature of protest to be loud, sometimes discourteous, and contentious. But, as scholars, we believe that suppressing the expression of unpopular or uncomfortable ideas by students or faculty engaged in peaceful protest does not do justice to the values at the heart of the university.

We understand that we have hard work to do. As Aristotle said, “anybody can become angry—that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” We urge our constituencies to engage in communication and cooperation to strengthen the conditions that foster knowledge and its dissemination—which helps make the world a safer and kinder place for all—with the hope that we can emerge from this present crisis wiser and with a deeper understanding of one another.

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Learned Societies and Higher Education Institutions

American Academy of Religion
American Historical Association
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
College Art Association
Modern Language Association
Oral History Association
Organization of American Historians
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society of Early Americanists
Society for Ethnomusicology

Individuals Endorsing This Statement

Laura Adderley, Tulane University
Tanya Agathocleous, Hunter College
Abubakar Aliyu Liman, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
Nicole Aljoe, Northeastern University
Kimberly Andrews, University of Ottawa
Cheryl Anisman, National University
Lucha Arévalo, Rio Hondo College
Mariam Banahi
Claudia Baracchi, University Milano-Bicocca
Daniela Baroffio, University of Southern California
Martha Beck, Lyon College
Tuhin Bhattacharjee, DePaul University
Lisa Bhungalia, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Allison Bigelow, University of Virginia
Mary T. Boatwright, Duke University
Peter Brooks, Yale University
Ellen Broselow, Stony Brook University
Andrea Calilhanna, University of Adelaide
Jacoby Carter, Howard University/ ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellow
Christine Case, ACLS Leading Edge Fellow
Tim Cassedy, Southern Methodist University
Victor Caston, University of Michigan
Sally Charnow, Hofstra University
Janine Chi, Muhlenberg College
Joel Christensen, Brandeis University
Christa Cole, Oberlin College
Deirdre Collins, New York University
Sidnie Crawford, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Linda Darling
Beth Darlington
Stephen Davis, University of Kentucky
Ivonne del Valle, University of California, Berkeley
Christine Desan, Harvard Law School
Faisal Devji, University of Oxford
Thomas Simsarian Dolan, Emory University
Jeff Dolven, Princeton University
Simon Doubleday, Hofstra University
Lan Duong, University of Southern California
Deborah Dwork, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity; CUNY Graduate Center
Timothy Eatman, Rutgers University-Newark
Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
Catherine Elgin, Harvard University
Caryl Emerson, Princeton University
Danielle Endres, University of Utah
Philip Ethington, University of Southern California
Jelani Favors, North Carolina A&T State University
Kennan Ferguson, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Les Field, University of New Mexico
Stephen Finlay, University of Southern California and Australian Catholic University
Francesca Fiorani, University of Virginia
Brodwyn Fischer, University of Chicago
Julia Fleckman, Tulane University
D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, Bowling Green State University

Emily Francomano, Georgetown University
Eben Friedman
Bruce Frier, University of Michigan
Debjani Ganguly, University of Virginia
Jeanette Goddard, Trine University
Larry Goedde, University of Virginia
Laura Gonzalez, San Diego Miramar College
Matthew Gordon, Miami University
Nathan Grant, African American Review
Robin Greeley, University of Connecticut
Naomi Greyser, University of Iowa
Devin Griffiths, University of Southern California
Larry Gross, University of Southern California
Thomas Guglielmo, The George Washington University
Clara Han, Johns Hopkins University
Thomas Harrison, University of California, Los Angeles
Shuaibu Hassan, Ahmadu Bello Uinversity, Zaria, Nigeria
Robert E. Hegel, Washington University in St. Louis
James B. Hoesterey, Emory University
Thomas Hollihan, University of Southern California
Jean Howard, Columbia University
Amy Howard Green, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Christopher Huck
Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University
Michele Janette, Kansas State University
Ki-Eun Jang, Fordham University
Alice Jardine, Harvard University
Larisa Jasarevic, Independent Scholar
Charles Jones, Pennsylvania State University
Sharlene Khan, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Susan Kalt, Roxbury Community College
Christina Karageorgou-Bastea, Vanderbilt University
Jeffrey Kerr Ritchie, Howard University
Naveeda Khan, Johns Hopkins University
Sharlene Khan, University of the Witwatersrand
Annette M. Kim, University of Southern California
David Kim, University of California, Los Angeles
Sandra Kim, Stony Brook University
Dale Kinney, Bryn Mawr College
Arthur Knight, William & Mary
B. Robert Kreiser, Society for French Historical Studies
Stefan Krieger, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins University
Joseph Leach, Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Buddhism Public Scholar, Detroit Institute of Arts
Evelyn Lincoln, Brown University
Christopher Looby, University of California, Los Angeles
Rita Lucarelli, University of California, Berkeley
Aman Luthra, George Washington University
Renate Lux, University of California, Los Angeles

Christine Marrewa, Columbia University
Laura Mason, Johns Hopkins University
Robin McGinty, ACLS Leading Edge Fellow
Shawn McHale, George Washington University
Mary McHugh, Gustavus Adolphus College
Jeffrey Meikle, The University of Texas at Austin
Mariela Mendez, University of Richmond
Esther Menn, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Mara Mills, New York University
Nelson H. Minnich, Catholic University of America
Isidora Miranda, Vanderbilt University
Sophia Mo, University of Kansas
Yasmin Moll, University of Michigan
Carl Monk, Washburn University School of Law
Aisha Motlani
Reinhold C. Mueller, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Sheila Murnaghan, University of Pennsylvania
Sarah Nahar, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University
Calvin Normore, University of California, Los Angeles
Andrew Nsama
Georgia Nugent Illinois Wesleyan University
Elizabeth Oglesby, University of Arizona
Sunday Ogunode, Historical Society of Nigeria
Greg O’Malley, University of California, Santa Cruz
Enaya Othman, Marquette University
Fraser Ottanelli, University of South Florida
Stephen Pacheco, San Diego Mesa College
Benjamin Pearson, Tulane University
Carla Pestana, University of California, Los Angeles
Adrian I. P-Flores, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jin Y. Park, American University
Kevin M. F. Platt, University of Pennsylvania
Watufani Poe, Tulane University
Lisa Pon, University of Southern California
Mauro Porto, Tulane University
Alexander Potts, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
Don Price, University of California, Davis
Stanislao Pugliese, Hofstra University
Alexandra Quantrill
Jill Raitt, University of Missouri
Janet Randall, Northeastern University
Virginia Reinburg, Boston College
Amy Reynolds, Saint Louis University
Cole Rizki, University of Virginia
Jennifer Roberts, City University of New York
Kathryn Roberts, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Wendy Roberts, State University of New York at Albany
Alma Rodenas-Ruano, Fordham University

Lynn Roller, University of California, Davis
Jennifer Rust, Saint Louis University
Luis Sánchez-López, University of California, Irvine
Anne Sa’adah, Dartmouth College
Elke Sabella
Daniella Santoro
Patricia Sawin, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Juliet Schor, Boston College
Ellen Schrecker
Caroline T. Schroeder, University of Oklahoma
Gary Shapiro, University of Richmond
Sara Shneiderman, University of British Columbia
Wilfried Sieg, Carnegie Mellon University
Bruce Simon, State University of New York at Fredonia
Lisa Siraganian, Johns Hopkins University
Tyson Smith, University of Pennsylvania
Laurie Sommers, Michigan State University Community Music School
Domna Stanton, CUNY Graduate Center
Tomás Summers Sandoval, Pomona College
Timothy Sweet, West Virginia University
Katrina Thompson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tyechia Thompson
Ann Tickner, American University
Karen Till, Maynooth University, Ireland
Mary Anne Trasciatti, Hofstra University
Karma Lekshe Tsomo, University of San Diego
Joya Uraizee, Saint Louis University
Marc Van De Mieroop, Columbia University
Rashmi Viswanathan, University of Hartford
Julie Voelker-Morris, University of Oregon
John Wakota, University of Dar es Salaam
Gayle Wald, George Washington University
Priscilla Wald, Duke University
Eric Wertheimer, Stony Brook University
Bethany Wiggin, University of Pennsylvania
Patrick Williams, University of Arkansas
Rachel Williams, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Matthew Wise, University of California, Los Angeles
Andria Wisler, Georgetown University
Elizabeth Wood, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Anya Yermakova, Washington University in St. Louis
William Youmans, George Washington University
Froma Zeitlin, Princeton University
Jessica Zu, University of Southern California
Alex Zukas, National University
Lorna Zukas, National University

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