The American Sociological Association is closely following the recent events at Trinity College regarding Professor John Eric Williams. ASA, for its more than 100-year existence, has fought for academic freedom and a strong and safe public forum for the dissemination and discussion of ideas. The ability to inject controversial ideas into this forum is paramount to a better understanding of our society and essential to ensuring a robust exchange of ideas on college campuses. In principle, ASA does not take a position on such ideas themselves but does take the position that all individuals have the right to express themselves. In that context, we expect thoughtful consideration regarding the way in which the ideas are expressed. We also expect the safety of those expressing them. Threatening the life of those whose rhetoric we oppose undermines the robust and democratic exchange of ideas. Ideas - regardless of how controversial - should only be attacked by alternative ideas. Mutual understanding requires more discussion rather than a stifling of discourse.
The following organizations have signed on to this statement: