Indiana University Bloomington

Wells with Kinsey (left)Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.

(American Library Association)

Wells was a noted proponent and protector of intellectual freedom at Indiana University by his staunch defense of faculty liberty to research controversial or unpopular topics. In the late 1930s, when zoologist Alfred C. Kinsey started his path-breaking research on the sexual behavior of humans, President Wells took steps to weave a strong web of support to ensure his academic freedom. Wells stood up to criticism from the American Legion alleging Communist sympathizers on the IU faculty and the purchase of Communist periodical and books by the IU Library.