The liberal arts and sciences require the ability to inquire deeply and to express oneself freely. The founders of Phi Beta Kappa created the organization as a secret society to ensure the freedom to discuss and debate any topic they chose. Ever since then, freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression have served as hallmarks of ΦBK.
The three stars on the Phi Beta Kappa key, adopted at the Society’s founding meeting in 1776, represent the core values of friendship, morality and literature. Deep personal and intellectual engagement with others as individuals, as fellow members of an academic community, and as fellow citizens express these values.
Today, Phi Beta Kappa champions freedom of inquiry and expression through successful programs around the country, thought leadership on this issue, and policies that advance a balanced understanding of free expression on campuses and throughout our society.
In this work, we engage our network of members, chapters, associations, and other supporters to demonstrate that free inquiry and expression are essential for meaningful and productive lives, and a flourishing democracy.
Free Expression Events