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Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression

Colleges and universities play a special role in our democracy in preparing the next generation for civic leadership and teaching the values of mutual respect and principled disagreement. But, campus controversies over free expression and academic freedom have shown that the climate of open inquiry on many campuses is being constrained.

The Bipartisan Policy Center launched the Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression to explore the factors that have made attempts to foster a free expression campus culture so difficult. The task force was charged with developing free expression strategies and policies that function as a roadmap and can be adapted to each school’s unique history, mission, and community and commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The task force is co-chaired by former governors Chris Gregoire (WA) and Jim Douglas (VT), and its members include a diverse group of leaders representing public and private institutions, an HBCU, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, two denominational institutions, and national civic organizations.

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Jim Douglas

Executive in Residence, Middlebury College

Jim Douglas served Vermont for more than 35 years, beginning in the Vermont House of Representatives where he served a term as Majority Leader. He was elected Secretary of State in 1980, a post he held for twelve years. He was elected State Treasurer in 1994, where he served for eight years. Mr. Douglas was elected Governor in 2002 and re-elected three times. He has chaired the National Governors Association. In 2010, President Obama appointed him to co-chair the Council of Governors. Mr. Douglas served on BPC’s Governors’ Council and BPC’s Task Force on Higher Education Financing and Student Outcomes. Mr. Douglas is now Executive in Residence at Middlebury College, his alma mater.

Chris Gregoire

Chief Executive Officer, Challenge Seattle

Chris Gregoire is CEO of Challenge Seattle, an alliance of CEOs from 17 of the region’s largest private-sector employers who work together to ensure that the greater Seattle area thrives. She served two terms as Governor of the State of Washington from 2005 to 2013. In Ms. Gregoire’s first term she created the Department of Early Learning, among other higher education reforms. Prior to her governorship, Ms. Gregoire directed the state’s Department of Ecology and served as Attorney General. She is a member and former chair of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and a member of the National Bipartisan Governor’s Council. Ms. Gregoire served on BPC’s Governors’ Council and BPC’s Task Force on Higher Education Financing and Student Outcomes. She earned her BA and teaching certificate from the University of Washington and her JD from Gonzaga University. She is a graduate of the Harvard Executive Management Program.


Ronald A. Crutcher

President Emeritus, University of Richmond


Ronald A. Crutcher is a national leader in higher education and recently retired as the tenth President of the University of Richmond, serving the University from 2015-2021. He previously served as President of Wheaton College for ten years. He was the founding co-chair of Liberal Education and America’s Promise, the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AAC&U) national campaign to demonstrate the value of liberal education. He also serves on the boards of the American Council on Education and AAC&U. Dr. Crutcher is a Professor of Music and a distinguished classical musician. He is a former member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and currently serves on the board of the Richmond Symphony. For almost forty years, he performed in the U.S. and Europe as a member of the Klemperer Trio. Dr. Crutcher graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University of Ohio and earned his MA and PhD from Yale University.

Daniel Cullen

Professor of Philosophy, Rhodes College

Daniel Cullen is Professor of Philosophy at Rhodes College, where he teaches a wide variety of courses in political philosophy and the humanities and directs the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy. He is Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Constitutional Principles and History, and he serves on the board of the Association for Core Text Studies and Courses, an international liberal arts organization dedicated to fostering the use of world classics and other texts of major cultural significance in undergraduate education. His writings include Freedom in Rousseau’s Political Philosophy, Liberal Democracy and Liberal Education, and numerous essays on issues in modern political philosophy, democratic theory, and liberal education. Dr. Cullen received his MA from Dalhousie University and his PhD from Boston College.

Ross Irwin

Chief Operating Officer, BridgeUSA


Ross Irwin is an alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, where he graduated in May 2020, and now serves as COO of BridgeUSA. In this role, Mr. Irwin is responsible for chapter expansion and ensuring uniformity and cohesiveness between BridgeUSA’s many campus chapters. He is focused on creating community and conversation on campus as many students are faced with uncertainty, stress, and loneliness. Coming to Berkeley form the rural town of Sonora, California, showed him first-hand the impact of political polarization on the student body. Mr. Irwin got to know people on both ends of the political spectrum who hate “the other side” fiercely, and yet have never had a discussion with them. Mr. Irwin’s undergraduate degree is in business administration.

William A. Keyes, IV

Founder and President, The Institute for Responsible Citizenship

William Keyes founded the Institute for Responsible Citizenship in 2003. The organization selects some of America’s best and brightest African American male college students for an intensive two-summer program in Washington, DC. Its accomplished alumni include Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and the recipients of numerous other academic awards. For his work in education, Dr. Keyes was given the Mac A. Stewart Distinguished Award for Service from Ohio State University and he received the Warrior Award at the 2017 International Colloquium on Black Males in Education. Dr. Keyes has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as on the university’s Board of Visitors and the Advisory Board of the Institute for the Arts & Humanities. He earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina, where he was admitted to the Order of the Golden Fleece, the highest honorary society at UNC and the oldest of its type in the country.

Walter M. Kimbrough

President, Dillard University

Dr. Kimbrough is the seventh President of Dillard University, a position he has held since 2012 having previously served as President of Philander Smith College. He has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs, African American men in higher education, and free speech on college campuses. Dr. Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, is the author of Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities, and has testified as an expert witness in a number if hazing cases. Education Dive named him one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right and ranked him as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents. Dr. Kimbrough earned his BA from the University of Georgia, his MA from Miami University of Ohio, and his PhD from Georgia State University.

Linda A. Livingstone

President, Baylor University

Dr. Linda A. Livingstone is the fifteenth President of Baylor University and previously served as Dean and Professor of Management at the George Washington University School of and at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. Dr. Livingstone is a scholar in organizational behavior, leadership, creativity, and university accreditation. She has been extensively published and cited in dozens of academic and professional outlets. She also serves on a number of governing boards, including the boards of the American Council on Education, Baylor College of Medicine, and the AGB Council of Presidents. In addition, she serves as Vice Chair of the Big XII Board of Directors Executive Committee. Dr. Livingstone earned her BS, MA, and PhD from Oklahoma State University.

Immediate Past President, University of Maryland

Wallace Loh retired as President of the University of Maryland in 2020 after 10 years of service. Previously, he was Provost at the University of Iowa and Dean at the University of Washington Law School. He directed the Executive Policy Office of Governor Gary Locke, State of Washington, and has taught law and social science in the United States and abroad. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and past president of the Association of American Law Schools, he served on the board of the American Council on Education; the advisory board to the U.S. Comptroller General; and on advisory panels on higher education issues to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the NIH Director, and the White House Office of Science & Technology. Born in China and raised in Peru, he immigrated alone to the U.S. at age 16, and is a naturalized “Latasian” (Latino- Asian) US citizen. Dr. Loh received his BA from Grinnell College, his JD from Yale University, and his PhD from the University of Michigan.

John Arthur Nunes

President, Concordia College-New York

John A. Nunes is an author, speaker, and Lutheran pastor, serving since 2016 as the ninth president of Concordia College- New York, a small Christian college with a diverse and global student body. Previously, Dr. Nunes served as the President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, as a professor at Valparaiso University, and as an inner-city pastor in Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan. With Alberto García he co-authored Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation from the Margins (Eerdmans, 2017). His newest volume, Meant for More: In, With, and Under the Ordinary, released in October 2020. Dr. Nunes earned his BA from Concordia University-Ann Arbor, his MDiv from Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, and his PhD from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Carol A. Sumner

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Chief
Diversity Officer, Texas Tech University


Carol A. Sumner was appointed Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2018. Before her appointment, Dr. Sumner served as the Senior Associate Dean of students at Arizona State University and as Associate Dean in the Office of the Dean of Students at the Tempe campus. At Tempe, Dr. Sumner led the Culture@ASU initiative, which identifies and celebrates a diverse and multifaceted university culture through art, food, music, lectures and the celebration of traditions, among other things. Her career in higher education prior to ASU includes positions at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; Illinois State University; and Wilberforce University. Dr. Sumner earned her BA and her MA from Illinois State University and her PhD from ASU.

Lori S. White

President, DePauw University


Lori S. White is the twenty-first President of DePauw University. Dr. White has spent over 30 years working in higher education, most recently as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and a Professor of Practice at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the first woman and the first person of color to serve as DePauw’s president. Dr. White has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation. She earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her PhD from Stanford University. She has also participated in Harvard’s Management and Leadership in Education Program.


Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Director, Campus Free Expression Project


Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is director of the BPC Campus Free Expression Project. Prior to joining BPC, Dr. Merrill was the executive director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Earlier in her career, Dr. Merrill served on the faculties of St. John’s College (Annapolis), known for its Great Books curriculum, and the College of William & Mary. She has also taught at Duke University, the University of Calgary, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. Her work has appeared in venues including The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Dr. Merrill earned her BA (First Class Honours) from the University of Calgary and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University.

Steven F. Hayward

Advisor, Campus Free Expression


Steven F. Hayward is fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and an advisor to BPC’s Campus Free Expression Project. He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Hayward was previously the

Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy and was the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013–14. From 2002 to 2012, he was the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow in Law and Economics at the American Enterprise Institute and has been senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute since 1991. He writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post  and other publications. He is the author of six books, including  The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964–1980. Hayward earned a B.S. from Lewis & Clark College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School.

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