Statement on Campus Protests


May 6, 2024 - The Phi Beta Kappa Society acknowledges that this time on campuses is challenging for students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni.

Since 1776, Phi Beta Kappa has championed the liberal arts and sciences — rooted in free inquiry and expression — as essential to a flourishing democracy and vibrant culture. Colleges and universities exist to examine complex issues, challenges, and ideas and to provide a forum in which issues and opinions can be explored and openly debated. Specifically, the liberal arts and sciences require the ability to inquire deeply and to express oneself freely.

Freedom of inquiry and expression includes the right to protest, both on and off campus. So long as campus protests do not directly threaten others or unduly interfere with the operations or the core purpose of higher education institutions, they should receive the same protections as other forms of expression. Institutions of higher learning prosper, even during difficult times, when they approach challenges as a community. Schools do best when they seek dialogue across ideological and political differences between and among the members of the campus community and share a commitment to transparent decision-making.

Phi Beta Kappa continues our work on free expression by engaging our network of members, chapters, associations, and other supporters to demonstrate that free inquiry and expression are essential for meaningful lives and engaged communities.