Alumni Free Speech Alliance Affiliate at William & Mary

by Robert Kaplan, Karla K. Bruno, and John S. Buckley

The cross removed from Wren Chapel in 2006. “Marshall-Wythe” deleted from the name of the law school during the past decade. Recently, urine thrown by a student protestor at other students promoting pro-life views on abortion and an ACLU spokesperson speaking on campus about free speech shouted down by Black Lives Matters advocates. Alas, even the venerable College of William and Mary in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, is not new to, or immune from, anti-free speech and inquiry, political correctness, and historical “presentism” that has come to characterize higher education throughout America.

It’s time for William and Mary alumni to get more involved. With a tip of a hat to The Jefferson Council at the University of Virginia — an independent association of recent vintage of Charlottesville alumni — alums at W&M are now organizing to keep a more vigilant eye on left-wing indoctrination and assorted bullying tactics that appear to be at play among faculty, administration, and students.

Our intention is to affiliate with the rapidly growing national Alumni Free Speech Alliance (AFSA), a consortium of independent alumni organizations at major universities across the United States, formed to advocate for free intellectual inquiry in the halls of higher education. It so happens that the Commonwealth of Virginia has of late the greatest concentration of AFSA affiliates in the U.S. with organizations at the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute, and James Madison University, with William and Mary on its way.

We envision an AFSA chapter that will speak for alumni dissatisfied with the recent trends on campus, such as speech “police” who intimidate students of differing views, the politicization of faculty and administrative recruitment and retention, an obsession with the imposition of so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies, indoctrination of students, and the list goes on. This “presentism” seeks to undermine the political and philosophical contributions of America’s Founding Fathers by absurd standards imposed by 21st century, left-wing fantasists — these are the currents at play in higher education today. Because of this trend, William and Mary alumni who are disturbed and alarmed at these kinds of events, policies, and propaganda are reaching out to each other to get involved in righting the balance at W&M.

Our new William and Mary alumni organization will aim for balance, honorable and respectful disagreement on topics, and free speech and intellectual inquiry across the W&M community. By way of example, we propose to support speakers on current topics who are outside what seems to be the dominant (although increasingly intolerant) zeitgeist in academia, to sponsor debates that highlight opposing points of view, provide encouragement to students who may otherwise feel isolated and shunned concerning their views and outlooks, and overall promote a higher level of interaction among W&M family, the Board of Visitors and the College Administration.

We feel certain that George Wythe, and his students John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson, would be proud.

Send us a message ( if you’re interested in helping, joining, or promoting our group, or if you have questions. Let’s start our own proper rebellion in Williamsburg.

Robert R. Kaplan, College ’69, Law ‘72
Karla K. Bruno, College ’81, MAEd ‘92
John S. Buckley, Law ‘87