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Institutional Neutrality in a Polarized World: What Should Harvard and Higher Ed Do?

Neutrality Event Final

The role of universities in public debates has been front-page news in recent months. Questions about whether institutions of higher education, including Harvard, should take a stance on public issues—and, if so, what they should say—have been of interest on campus, in our communities, and in Washington, DC. Some universities, including the University of Chicago, have for years observed a policy of neutrality in which the institution declines to take a public position on political matters. Other institutions may choose to make statements on certain local, national, or international topics.

Harvard Radcliffe Institute and the Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard cosponsor a discussion about the idea and application of institutional neutrality. Four leading legal scholars will bring different perspectives and experiences to the conversation and engage in Q&A with one another and the audience.

Should Universities Be Taking Official Stances on Political, Social Issues of Day? (Harvard Gazette, 3/6/24)

Universities in Public Debates (Harvard Magazine, 3/6/24)

Amid Debates at Harvard, Legal Scholars Discuss Institutional Neutrality at Harvard Radcliffe Institute Event (Harvard Crimson, 3/6/24)


Edward Hall, Norman E. Vuilleumier Professor of Philosophy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; co-president, Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; and professor of history, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Tom Ginsburg, Leo Spitz Distinguished Service Professor of International Law; Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar; professor of political science; faculty director, Malyi Center for the Study of Institutional and Legal Integrity; and faculty director, Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression, The University of Chicago Law School

Janet Halley, Eli Goldston Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Robert C. Post, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School

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