On March 28, President Ronald Liebowitz sent an email to the Brandeis community about the creation of ‘The Presidential Task Force on Free Expression.” The group, led by the chair Prof. Kate Moran (PHIL), consists of faculty, staff, students and trustees.

Professors include Linda Bui (ECON), Shai Feldman (IMES), Anita Hill (HS), David Katz (HIST), Dr. Donald Katz (PSYC), Dan Oprian (BCHM) and Stuart H. Altman Chair in U.S. Health Policy Karen Donelan. Undergraduate students Mona Houjazy ’26, Shai Goldberg Kellman ’26 and Ph.D candidate in International Relation, Nathanial Walker are also involved, as well as trustees Barbara Dortch-Okara ’71, David Harris P’ 05, H’ 22 and Marjorie Hass. General Counsel, Steve Locke, Director of Communications, Student Affairs, and Family Liaison, Dvora Pemstein and Communications Coordinator for the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, Mel Ptacek, are also in the task force.

Liebowitz highlighted Brandeis’ “history of openness,” in accepting Jewish students and “recruiting and making a home for high-achieving students and faculty regardless of background.” Brandeis’ Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression was published by the Board of Trustees in 2018, but in light of developments in academia and the world, Liebowitz stated that it is necessary to “conduct a review of these Principles and how university policies and procedures relate to them.”

The two goals of the task force are to “examine our current Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression and make recommendations for changes or improvements” and “review the processes and protocols Brandeis uses to apply these Principles to our academic and co-curricular activities, and make recommendations for changes or improvements.” 

Recommendations are expected to be submitted to Liebowitz by Dec. 31, 2024. Liebowitz hopes that this course of action will be a productive self-examination and lead to a more “open, civil, and secure environment for the pursuit and creation of knowledge.”