Statement from Chancellor Blank on speech by Charles Murray

May 1, 2017

As the semester winds into its final weeks, one recurring thread this academic year has been our campus discussions on issues of free speech and academic freedom.

These discussions will likely continue with the recent announcement that UW faculty from the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy have invited political scientist and author Charles Murray to an off-campus event on May 3.

Dr. Murray, as you may have seen in the news, has generated a strong response to his views on race, inequality, politics and society. A recent lecture of his at Middlebury College was violently disrupted.

Let me be clear that here at UW–Madison we are committed to creating a community where every person feels welcomed, valued and able to succeed. Each day, our students prove that persons of all backgrounds, including those that have historically been excluded from higher education, can and do succeed at the very highest levels of academic rigor. We believe the educational benefits provided by a multitude of backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints enrich our community and are essential components of higher education.

Dr. Murray has been an invited guest of our university in the past and we will extend to him the same courtesy every guest to our campus deserves.

As I said earlier this semester, a university’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech is a commitment that allows all ideas to be presented and debated and that calls upon us to argue back against those ideas with which we disagree.

Just as I support Dr. Murray’s right to speak, I also support the right of those who disagree with him to share their views. I would expect that we at UW can have this exchange in a respectful way.