1,300 Petition Signers Call for Reform at Yale

June 21, 2023

As the 50th anniversary of the Woodward Report approaches next year, Yale’s leadership has an important opportunity to rebuild Yale’s reputation as an institution that lives up to its free speech principles. Last week, Fight for Yale’s Future, a project of the Buckley Institute, sent a petition with almost 1,300 unique signatures of students, alumni, and faculty to Yale President Peter Salovey and the members of the Yale Corporation. The petition offers specific recommendations to improve the free exchange of ideas on campus.


Since we launched this petition last year, more concerning statistics have emerged regarding free speech on campus. Last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) gave Yale a Lifetime Censorship Award for “abandoning its once-cherished ‘statement of principles’ regarding freedom of speech and inquiry.” In the 2023 College Free Speech Rankings, Yale ranked near the bottom at 198th (out of 203 schools) in the overall rankings for student free speech and open inquiry. 86% of Yale students have felt they could not express their opinion on a subject because of how students, a professor, or the administration would respond. 


The disruption of a panel on free speech in March 2022 made national news and undermined confidence in Yale’s willingness to stand up for free speech. The state of free speech at Yale is sufficiently concerning that 14 federal judges joined a boycott of clerks from Yale Law School.


We urge the administration to take concrete steps to remedy this situation and welcome a constructive conversation about these issues.