Princeton faculty are among the organizers and leaders of the new Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), a national group of more than 200 professors that says it wants to uphold freedom of thought and speech and will provide legal support to members who need it. 

Keith Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics and author of the 2018 book Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech, will chair the AFA’s academic committee. 

“Instances of professors being disciplined or fired for protected speech are on the rise,” Whittington said in a press release. “AFA will counteract the pressure on school administrators to crack down on controversial views and will provide faculty with strength in numbers to defend their academic freedom.” He added that the group will not endorse members’ specific views but “will simply defend their right to expression.”

Twenty-five Princeton faculty are listed as AFA members, including Cornel West *80, a Princeton emeritus professor. Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that members span the ideological spectrum, and liberals and progressives are just as concerned about academic freedom as their conservative peers. “They are absolutely terrified, and they know they can never keep up with the wokeness,” George told the Chronicle. “What’s OK today is over the line tomorrow, and nobody gave you the memo.”