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CAA has signed on to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Statement on 2024 Campus Protests, which, like the American Historical Association (AHA) statement last week, was issued in response to recent decisions by colleges and universities to encourage police intervention and suppress protests.  

Both AHA and ACLS statements resonate with CAA’s mission to advocate for the visual arts through “intellectual engagement and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners,” as more broadly this speaks to a commitment to advocating for diversity of ideas. Opposing ideas, whether expressed via visual art or through protest, can disturb and trigger discomfort. However, per the ACLS statement, “while administrators have every right and duty to secure the safety of their campus communities, they cannot and should not shield students or others from the experience of hearing strongly worded statements which might make them deeply uncomfortable. It is the nature of protest to be loud, sometimes discourteous, and contentious. But, as scholars, we believe that suppressing the expression of unpopular or uncomfortable ideas by students or faculty engaged in peaceful protest does not do justice to the values at the heart of the university.” 

Visit the ACLS website to view the full list of individuals, societies, and institutions who have signed on to this statement.  

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