Freedom of Expression

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The free exchange of ideas underpins everything we do as a university — educating new generations of global citizens, pursuing novel research and scholarship, and advancing the public good. We encourage Cornellians everywhere to challenge personal beliefs, to consider new ideas and unfamiliar perspectives, and to foster discussion around core freedoms for democracy and higher education. Join us as we explore the history, significance, and challenges of these foundations of the Cornell experience through creative and scholarly discussions and events.

“Freedom of expression is the bedrock of democracy, just as academic freedom is the bedrock of higher education. These twin freedoms are at the heart of our core values, and have always been fundamental to Cornell’s excellence and its identity.”

— President Martha E. Pollack

University Values

From our founding, Cornell has stood for free and open inquiry and expression. Learning flourishes in an environment where diverse ideas are presented and debated without hindrance. As a university we prize freedom of expression just as we honor our commitment to being a community of belonging.



Law School First Amendment Clinic

Instruction for students on First Amendment principles and how to defend clients’ constitutional rights.

Intergroup Dialogue Project

Creating community across difference through critical dialogue in the areas of human connection, social identity, intergroup communication, and strategic change.

Global Cornell Support for Scholars Under Threat

Campus and community support for international scholars, students, and human rights defenders whose work endangers them in their home countries.

Cornell Library Resources

A curated collection of readings, films, study guides, and resources that explore the significance, history, and challenges of freedom of expression.

Readings to Explore

An assortment of books to engage with ideas of freedom of expression and academic freedom.

Legal Information Institute

Resources to explore the legal underpinnings of freedom of expression, including an annotated guide to the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

University Voices

Reflections on
Freedom of Expression

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