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Free Speech and Academic Integrity on Campus:

Progressive Christian Campus Ministries Take a Stand


We are leaders of progressive Christian ministries at colleges and universities around the United States, deeply concerned with right-wing assaults against free speech and academic integrity at the institutions we serve.  Many colleges and universities were founded by our progressive Christian forebears, who believed in the mission of secular higher education, believed in academic freedom and integrity, and released control of the institutions they started as the country became more religiously and culturally diverse.  We honor that legacy and, alongside others, we commit ourselves to carrying it forward.


On our campuses, we defend and encourage:


Academic speech spaces:  classroom dialogue that reflects the academic rigor of peer-review and basis in evidence, in pursuit of broad consensus, free from dogma.  We support shared governance between faculty and administration.  We oppose the efforts of politicians who are trying to impose their ideological agendas on our colleges and universities.


Free speech spaces:  free expression, except for direct incitement to physical harm, in public spaces on campus - making room for obnoxious or offensive speech.  We will either ignore bad speech or respond to it with good speech.


Brave speech spaces:  environments on campus where difficult differences can be explored through respectful dialogue, where skills in constructive communication and listening can be honed.  Following Jesus' way of unconditional love, our ministries are committed to creating and supporting such spaces, in cooperation with other groups on campus.  What is learned in brave speech spaces will humanize and enrich academic speech and free speech on campus. 


Safe speech spaces:  environments on campus where particular communities with common interests gather, where students can express their concerns freely in an atmosphere of mutual support and encouragement.  Our ministries offer such spaces and support other groups in doing the same.


Signers (roles/affiliations listed for ID purposes only):


Rev. Carl Thomas Gladstone

Director of Motor City Wesley Campus Ministry, Detroit

Board Member of national United Methodist Campus Ministry Association


Rev. Tim Kobler, Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan


Rev. Daniel Bell, Campus Minister, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts


Rev. Jim Burklo, executive director, ZOE: Progressive Christian Life on Campus


Rev. Dr. Portia Hopkins, The Belfry Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry to U.C. Davis and Sacramento City College, CA


Pastor Jerry Wirtley


Rev. Megan LeCluyse

Campus Minister and Director

The Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania 


Rev Scott Young

Wesley Fndtn/UCSD


Rev. Lauren Jewett,

Director of Spiritual Engagement and Campus Minister, Cal Aggie House @ UC Davis, CA

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