By their very nature, universities invite robust discussion and conflicts over thorny issues. The notion of academic freedom extends as far back as the academic charter of the University of Bologna in the middle of the twelfth century, and clashes over ideas and ideologies have been integral to the cultures and missions of universities ever since.
However, at times, these conflicts have grown more than heated, turned violent, even deadly. And, in recent years, universities have been chosen as sites by provocateurs to stir passions, stage protests, enrage communities, and stir unrest. What, then, is the responsibility of the academy? How do we maintain safe spaces for civil, rigorous debate while holding to principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech?
NHC Position Statement
The National Humanities Center has not issued an official statement concerning this issue.
Find out how you can get informed, get involved, and take action on this and other issues.
What the experts are saying:
- Camp, Emma. “I Came to College Eager to Debate. I Found Self-Censorship Instead.” The New York Times, March 7, 2022.
- Friedlander, Judith. “Why Left and Right Both Get the Meaning of Academic Freedom Wrong.” The Washington Post, February 10, 2019.
- McGowan, John. “Free Speech and Civility.” Public Intelligence, April 4, 2018.
- Campbell, Bradley, and Jason Manning. “The End of Academe: Free Speech and the Silencing of Dissent.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2018.
- Hatch, Orrin. “Protecting Freedom of Speech Where It Matters Most, On the College Campus.” National Review, February 7, 2018.
- Chemerinsky, Erwin. “Hate Speech is Protected Speech, Even on College Campuses.” Vox, December 26, 2017.
- Rampell, Catherine. “A Chilling Study Shows How Hostile College Students Are Toward Free Speech.” The Washington Post, September 18, 2017.
- Martin, Rachel, with Suzanne Nossel. “College Students Clash Repeatedly Over Free Speech Issues.” NPR’s Morning Edition, December 25, 2017.
- Zelizer, Julian E., and Morton Keller. “Is Free Speech Really Challenged on Campus?” The Atlantic, September 15, 2017.
- Bromwich, David. “The New Campus Censors.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 5, 2017.
- Manne, Kate, and Jason Stanley. “When Free Speech Becomes a Political Weapon.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 2015.
- Lukianoff, Greg, and Jonathan Haidt. “The Coddling of the American Mind.” The Atlantic, September 2015.
Research & Resources
Materials for further exploration:
- Bipartisan Policy Center. “Campus Free Expression: A New Roadmap.” November 2021.
- Brookings Institution Study: Views Among College Students Regarding the First Amendment, 2017.
- Statement from the American Association of University Professors: On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes, 1994.
- Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
- Bill of Rights Institute: Educator Resources