Free Expression, University Culture, and the Role of Leadership

This October, The Philanthropy Roundtable was lucky to host a conversation between the president of the University of Chicago, Dr. Robert Zimmer, and Cason Carter, the director and head of public affairs at Citadel. As many people know, the University of Chicago is viewed as the model for creating a climate of rigor, open discourse, and constant intellectual challenge on campus. It ranks No. 1 on lists for protecting free expression and is a beacon for other universities that want to act in a principled way when creating their learning and research environments. 

We are making the recording of this special event available more widely and hope you will enjoy it. Zimmer and Carter discuss, among other issues: 


  • What the “Chicago Principles” are and the role they play in creating the university’s intellectual climate 

  • Whether the principles have remained stable or have evolved over time 

  • What the difference is in discussing First Amendment protections from government action and ensuring freedom of expression for the purposes of carrying out the fundamental role of the university 


  • How other universities are faring on this front 

  • What the value of higher education is today given the criticism it has come under 

  • Whether donors should care about free expression when making gifts to institutions of higher education 

  • How the University of Chicago has evolved under Zimmer’s leadership 

The answers are compelling, the conversation is inspiring, and the importance of principled leadership to create the right climate on campus is made clear. Please enjoy. 

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