Start an association

Alumni for Free Speech (AFFS) encourages alumni of universities and colleges to form their own organisations to support free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity at their institutions. AFFS are committed to providing support and resources to assist with the creation of new alumni groups.

The nature and atmosphere of your university or college as you know it are at risk. Free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity are essential values at the heart of what university and college should be about. They need defending.

Their opponents are often well organised, while defenders of these values have been much less so. Academics and students who support these values often feel isolated and intimidated and keep quiet, even when they may form a majority. An organised group of alumni can advocate for free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity and provide support for those academics and students.

Each alumni group will have its own structure and operate differently, but will share many common elements. While forming a new group can seem daunting at first, AFFS will be able to support alumni who want to create new free speech organisations. We strongly welcome interested alumni who want to get in touch.

We can facilitate various ways of forming and running a focused campaign, from:

  • A simple group with a page on AFFS’ website and communicating via AFFS’ email system.
  • A more elaborate and autonomous group, perhaps with its own website but with its data still held and emails operated through AFFS.
  • A fully autonomous campaign with its own website, database and email system. AFFS will seek to support such a group in developing members.

Check if one already exists. There may already be an alumni free speech campaign in respect of your institution. If they are part of our network, they will be here. Or you may find other groups already at work for free speech at your university or college (do let us know about them, we would like to be in touch).

Team up with some fellow free speech loving alumni. If you want to make contact with some, we may be able to introduce you. Drop us a line.

Think about what form your association should take. This can range from a very informal grouping, to a more formalised association or campaign group, to even a company.

Develop constitutional arrangements. Once you get beyond something informal with a natural or agreed leader, you are likely to need a constitution of sorts, if only to agree how it is to be led (leader and other roles) and controlled/supervised (board and committee), and their relationship and the limits of the leader’s authority to speak for the group; what sorts of actions it intends to take; how its information and systems will work and be maintained; how its finances will work.

Get started!

Associate with us. If you are (or know) an existing group of concerned alumni, get in touch and join our association!

Get campaigning! Make contact with your institution and establish a dialogue. Aim to be positive and supportive while firm in your advocacy.

Standards for university and college free speech associations

It is important that alumni pursue consistent goals, with a reasonable, moderate and careful approach – inconsistency or ill-judged actions could damage our movement. University and college focused campaigns and associations should:

  • Share and focus on the purposes and aims set out at our Aims and work page. They should not stray into areas that do not primarily involve free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity issues. While institution-focused campaigns may discuss and share information on wider issues with their members, they should not campaign or communicate publicly about them.
  • Take care and exercise moderation about what issues they choose to campaign on.
  • Comply with all relevant laws and other requirements in everything they do.
  • Be moderate and courteous in all communications and dealings. No abuse or getting personal.