Bert Ellis leads the Jefferson Council at University of Virginia to protect several traditions. (Jason Lappa for The Washington Post)
Alumni groups pressing free-speech issues are popping up at colleges in many states, as debates over academic freedom, “cancel culture” and changes on campus intensify.
More than a dozen groups have joined the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, a group announced last fall that now includes graduates from schools including Harvard, Bucknell, Yale and Cornell universities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wofford and Davidson colleges. Organizers say hundreds of people from schools all across the country have contacted them, all graduates who have questions they say their traditional alumni associations are not asking.
To join, the groups must hold freedom of speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity as primary missions, said Edward Yingling, president of the alliance and a founder of Princetonians for Free Speech. “There is a feeling that a lot of universities are losing their way,” Yingling said. “There is very little diversity of thought.”