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Local and National Events


On March 26th, UNC AFSA and the Student Free Speech Alliance in Chapel Hill hosted an evening with legal scholar and civil liberties activist Nadine Strossen. Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita at New York Law School, past President of the ACLU (1991-2008), and a Senior Fellow with FIRE. Nadine discussed current free speech issues through a moderated interview followed by audience Q&A. The event, which is part of George Mason University’s Voices for Liberty Initiative, was co-sponsored by UNC’s Program for Public Discourse and the UNC Federalist Society.

Jonathan Haidt

Last Wednesday, UNC AFSA welcomed social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt to campus. Co-sponsored by the Student Free Speech Alliance, Heterodox Heels, and the Program for Public Discourse, Haidt's lecture at the sold-out student union auditorium shed light on the challenges confronting Generation Z, how these challenges contribute to the campus free speech crisis, and the erosion of colleges' credibility with the American public. Following his lecture, Haidt engaged in a moderated discussion with Professor Mark McNeilly and fielded audience questions posed by Professor Emily Putnam-Hornstein, delving into topics such as how UNC leadership can enact positive changes, issues surrounding the DEI bureaucracy, and the implications of artificial intelligence. The event drew a strong turnout from UNC faculty, deans, and top administrators. For those who missed it, a recording is accessible via the link below and on UNC AFSA’s YouTube channel.

Heather Mac Donald

On November 7th, investigative journalist, attorney, and Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald was hosted by UNC AFSA on campus to discuss "The Future of Humanistic Education after the Affirmative Action Ruling." Mac Donald has written extensively on affirmative action and higher education, including her 2018 book “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.” She shared her insights regarding the current reforms in admissions policies, addressed audience questions, and conferred with campus leaders on best practices moving forward.

Please click the link below to view a recording of the event.

Should We Regulate Big Tech? Libertarian vs. Conservative Viewpoints

On October 23, EPPC Senior Policy Analyst Clare Morell participated in a livestreamed debate with Senior Editor Robby Soave on the topic “Should We Regulate Big Tech Platforms?” Other related topics such as free speech and censorship were explored. Prof. Mark McNeilly of the Kenan-Flagler Business School moderated the discussion.

The event was sponsored by Carolina Review, Student Free Speech Alliance at UNC-Chapel Hill, Network of Enlightened Women, Turning Point USA, and Carolina Liberty Foundation.

Click the link below to watch the debate:

A Conversation With Abigail Shrier

Last Tuesday, UNC AFSA hosted distinguished journalist, author, and lawyer Abigail Shrier on campus. Co-sponsored by the Student Free Speech Alliance, the Carolina Review, and the Network of Enlightened Women, the event drew a full crowd and featured a thought-provoking discourse on issues concerning transgenderism. Moderator and RealClearInvestigations editor Peder Zane guided the conversation with insightful questions, and attendees elevated key issues, nuances, and counterarguments in the Q&A session. The event exceeded expectations regarding civility and free expression, demonstrating that respectful discourse remains attainable even in an era of widespread polarization. We appreciate all of the alumni, students, and campus leaders who showed out to support our mission and to hear a unique perspective.

UNC Professor Mark McNeilly - Free Expression, Academia, and the Parallel Polis

UNC AFSA gathered with friends and allies for a reception at Governors Club, which featured UNC Professor Mark McNeilly as keynote speaker. McNeilly’s speech, “Free Expression, Academia, and the Parallel Polis” detailed efforts to create positive change from within UNC through the combined efforts of faculty, students, and organized alumni. He emphasized the importance of establishing UNC AFSA as a voice to be reckoned with, as well as the need to support faculty and students who are willing to speak out.


The Board of the UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance hosted a casual reception to introduce UNC AFSA, its mission, and progress at UNC-CH to Charlotte alumns and friends. The featured speaker was Peder Zane, A columnist for RealClearPolitics and an editor at RealClearInvestigations. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to learn about and support UNC AFSA!


​In this debate, co-hosted by the MIT chapter of the Adam Smith Society and the MIT Free Speech Alliance two teams debated the place of academic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in higher education and whether they should be abolished – a move increasingly called for by DEI critics, including in state government. The debate took place at MIT on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 7:30 PM, and was moderated by Nadine Strossen, past national president of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Click link to view -


The Steamboat Institute and the Cornell Free Speech Alliance hosted a moderated debate on climate policy between Dr. Robert H. Socolow and Dr. Steven Koonin. These events are intended to encourage free thought, open inquiry, and civil discussion on campus. Both participants are superbly accomplished academics, and UNC AFSA was proud to be a sponsor. Click link to view details about the event,

Douglas Murray

UNC AFSA had the pleasure of hosting Douglas Murray for our first on-campus event and the kickoff for our 2023 Annual Fund Campaign. We had wonderful turnout at Murray’s speech and the subsequent dinner, both of which featured wonderfully insightful commentary on free speech, finding common ground, and charting a way forward with gratitude for our past and innovative solutions for our future.

The event attracted students, faculty, and alumni alike, with a lively and engaged crowd interacting with Douglas Murray and with each other. Murray’s Q&A session evoked a number of thought-provoking questions from students – some supportive while others skeptical – but all resulting in intriguing discussion.

A recording of the event is available on our YouTube channel, please click link to view,


"In November, Stanford University held an Academic Freedom Conference sponsored in part by UNC AFSA! Focused on addressing politicization and the decline of scholarship, the conference featured many notable researchers and academics. Videos from the conference are now available!"

SAFC Video 1 :   Conference Introduction by Stanford Professor John Cochrane (11 min),
SAFC Video 2 :  The Current Threat To The American University by NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt (17 min)
SAFC Video 3 :   The Attack On STEM : The Latest Target Of University Monoculture  (40-min Faculty Panel Discussion)

UNC AFSA Kick Off Event

UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance’s kick-off reception was held August 17, 2022 in Chapel Hill at the Carolina Brewery. It was fun, with the Q and A most helpful to us. We are particularly grateful to the UNC faculty and board members who attended. Our goal is to support the school’s written policies concerning academic freedom in a rational way.

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