Academic Freedom and Diversity Panel

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
invites you to a panel discussion co-sponsored by
SSA's Inclusion, Equity & Diversity Committee

Academic freedom and diversity:
Viewpoints on institutional practices and tensions

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
4:30-6:00 pm

School of Social Service Administration Lobby, 969 E. 60th St. Chicago, IL 60637
This event is free and open to the public. An informal discussion with light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will follow.

Registration is now full.

President Robert J. Zimmer

Our panelists will include:
John Boyer, Dean, University of Chicago College, Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History
Zareena GrewalAssociate Professor, Departments of American Studies and Religious Studies and the Program in Ethnicity, Race and Migration, Yale University
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez, AM '78, Professor of Social Work, University of Michigan School of Social Work, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School
Moderator: Gina Miranda Samuels, Associate Professor, SSA

In 1915, The American Association of University Professors advanced a declaration of principles that laid the foundation for much of today’s legal and tacit understanding of academic freedom and tenure within institutions of higher education. For the contemporary university, however, debates persist around the very meaning and boundaries of practicing academic freedom in the context of growing diversity on campus and attunement to campus climates that are inclusive of not only a diverse set of ideas, but a demographically diverse student, staff, and faculty body. This year, University of Chicago Dean of Students in the College Jay Ellison issued a welcome statement to first-year students reaffirming our University’s longstanding institutional commitment to academic freedom, and as such, our institutional rejection of silencing, or avoiding uncomfortable or disagreeable ideas or perspectives. This statement was met with vigorous national and local response both affirming and contesting these views and the University of Chicago itself as an exemplar of these ideals in higher education. 

This panel is on the topic of academic freedom and will examine institutional administrative level practices and tensions around the idea of academic freedom in the context of the explicit goals of preserving and fostering cardinal institutional values of diversity and inclusion. Panelists representing varying perspectives, both within and outside the University of Chicago, will explore the concept of academic freedom, its legal and historical foundations, possible distinctions between professional schools and disciplines, and the unique ways in which this is interpreted, practiced, and protected in light of institutional values on diversity and inclusion at the University of Chicago. Panelists will present their views briefly, and then respond to a set of shared questions posed by the moderator. For the remainder of the evening, attendees and panelists will transition to an informal reception designed to promote dialogue.

For more information, please click here.
Note: Persons with disabilities or anyone requiring special accommodations, please contact Carmella Snook at or call 773.702.9700.