free speech

How ‘Social Justice’ Warriors Kill Free Thought

Sixty years ago, higher education had an open culture where students and professors could explore many different social and political perspectives, views, values, and theories. Together, they would consider different approaches, argue about them, and draw what conclusions they could. But for the last half-century, universities have transitioned from an open to a closed culture, […]

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The Growing Threat of Repressive Social Justice

Most professors and students in the social sciences, humanities, education, social work, and law, and most university officials at Canadian and American universities today have adopted a political ideology labelled “social justice,” which requires redress for categories of people deemed “oppressed” for reasons of race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, and/or religion. For the many who […]

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DeVos Urges Campuses to Promote Free Speech

A few days ago, someone leaked a draft of the Education Department’s proposed new Title IX regulations. The document seeks to use federal authority to ensure that universities employ fairer procedures when adjudicating sexual misconduct claims. Today, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—quite appropriately—took a different approach to the issue of free speech on campus. Rejecting the […]

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A Professor at Brown Uncovers a Transgender Inconvenient Truth

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition supporting a Brown University social scientist who is under fire from activists and her own university for research raising questions about whether social factors, rather than biological ones, could influence young adults’ transgender identities. Lisa Littman, an Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, in a peer-reviewed […]

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Liberal Journos Fume at Decision to Protect Academic Freedom

Progressive journalists have a message for you: Free expression is for them, not for you — and not for conservative bloggers and academics. Left-leaning journalists like Margaret Carlson are angry that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of a conservative professor whose academic freedom rights were violated by Marquette University. It effectively fired him for a blog post that […]

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The Liberal-Conservative Dance on Campus Free Speech

Courtney Lawton became the central figure of an hour-long episode of This American Life by making a few derogatory comments on an activist from Turning Point USA, a campus conservative group. Last August, UNL undergraduate Kaitlyn Mullen set up a table with literature and fliers, in the middle of the University of Nebraska campus at […]

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A Tide Flowing Toward Free Speech on Campus

Freedom of expression is making a comeback. That might not be immediately obvious in the age of disinvitations, shout downs, trigger warnings, speech codes, “bias response teams,” and the other components of leftist suppression of ideas and speech on campus. Nor if we look beyond campus to the assaults on public officials, the doxing of […]

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Professor John McAdams ‘1’. . . Marquette University ‘0’

Marquette University has been trying to get rid of John McAdams, a conservative gadfly, for nearly four years. In October 2014, they came close to making that happen. When Cheryl Abbate, a grad student in philosophy, was teaching a course about John Rawls and asked students for examples of current events to which Rawlsian philosophy […]

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A New Tactic to Undermine Free Speech?

“The anarchic left” may be adopting a new tactic to stifle free speech on campus: rather than direct shout-downs of speakers they oppose, thus risking arrest and punishment, they may be turning to persistent heckling, says Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars. On April 18, the conservative activist group Turning Point USA […]

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A Conservative Argues Some ‘Free Speech’ Is Assault

It has become familiar among conservatives, on and off campus, to cast up the warnings about “moral relativism” as they gnash their teeth about the state of the culture. And yet we often find conservatives with a libertarian bent backing into a soft version of relativism. That tendency has been especially pronounced among conservatives who […]

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The Battle Over Pronouns Coming to a College Near You

Last year, Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, made news when he refused to use the invented pronouns of the transgender movement as prescribed by Canadian law (see chart). Pronouns these days are a new battleground, as recommendations admonish us all that the standard English pronouns, which traditionally distinguish she from he, […]

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Amy Wax - National Review

The Lack of Integrity at Penn

“The diversity imperative demands dissimulation and evasion,” Heather Mac Donald writes in City Journal about the public shaming by Penn Law School of Professor Amy Wax for pointing out hard truths about racial preferences. Many of us would put that assertion less politely and simply say that sustaining such preferences and cloaking their true costs […]

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No Free Speech on Four Canadian Campuses

Students at Canadian campuses have refused to allow three right-to-life clubs and one male-awareness group on the grounds that they don’t like what the clubs’ missions. The student union at the University of Toronto (Mississauga) refused to re-recognize the campus club “Students for Life” because of its “stance on abortion.” (It can’t be an anti-abortion club […]

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U. of Wisconsin Will Suspend or Expel Campus Disrupters

Following a spate of controversial protests on college campuses across the nation that sought to silence mostly conservative speakers, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has adopted a policy that mandates punishment for students and other campus citizens who willfully seek to disrupt speakers. The policy, resulting from pressure by the state legislature, […]

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Disrupting Campus Speakers Is Not Just A Free-Speech Problem

From kneeling football players to campus shout-downs to professors and a president Tweeting out malignancies, America now has a new problem. Taken out of its Christian context, to witness is to make an emphatic assertion to someone else who doesn’t share your view that your view is right. That assertion, moreover, doesn’t aim to persuade […]

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Free Speech–Where Are the Adults in the Room?

Almost two years have passed since the Halloween imbroglio at Yale in 2015, which launched the current era of student mobilizations against speech that some students don’t want to hear.  Whatever their ideological stance, these protests aim to intimidate controversial speakers and those who would invite them to campus, to prevent others from hearing them, […]

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Protecting Academic Freedom Through All the Campus Smoke

Once many years ago I spoke to an Army recruiter who tried to convince me that I would learn many valuable skills in the military, including how to jump from helicopters. I was puzzled. How exactly was learning to jump from a helicopter a valuable skill? He explained that I could then qualify for a […]

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The Article that Made 16,000 Ideologues Go Wild

Portland State University scholar Bruce Gilley drew a lot of attention with his August 29 article on Minding the Campus, “Why I’m leaving the Political Science Association.” A week or so later, he provoked an even greater controversy by telling readers of the Third World Quarterly what they don’t want to hear. “The Case for […]

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Why I’m Leaving the Political Science Association

Looking forward to a lively annual conference of the American Political Science Association, due to start this week in San Francisco, I proposed a panel on “Viewpoint Diversity in Political Science.” After all, I thought, wasn’t the 2016 election a signal lesson in the continuing relevance of diverse viewpoints in the American body politic? My […]

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Wake Forest University- Reynolda Hall

An Anti-Koch Rampage at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC is a selective school with a faculty that has a considerable number of, to use Roger Kimball’s phrase, tenured radicals. Just about two hours to the east in Raleigh is Wake Tech Community College, a typically unpretentious school offering lots of “practical” education. Recent events at the two schools […]

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How Colleges Promote Censorship and Undermine Free Speech

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley writes: “There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant.”  In his sanitized future, general happiness and social stability are achieved not via threats of legal action but rather through perfect genetic and behavioral engineering, endless indoctrination, anodyne feel-good phrases and drugs, and organized […]

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Four Lessons for Professors from Recent Campus Tumult

1) Never object to a diversity policy publicly. It is no longer permitted. You may voice concerns in a private conversation, but if you do it in a public way, you are inviting a visit from a mob or punishment from an administrator. 2) Do not assume that being politically progressive will protect you (as […]

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Middlebury Student Government Says No to Free Speech

Middlebury’s response to the disruption of Charles Murray’s invited campus address—followed by the protesters assaulting and injuring Professor Alison Stanger, moderator for the talk—offered little ground for optimism. A statement from the college implied that evidence (albeit ambiguous evidence) existed suggesting that some professors violated the Faculty Handbook in the pre-disruption period. The disruptors themselves […]

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Universities, Free Speech and the Rise of the Spit-Viper Left

Free speech on campuses has come on hard times. By now, we are all too familiar with the litany: invited speakers disinvited, talks by honored guests disrupted by shouting protesters, vandalism and riots forcing the cancellation of events, campus security announcing it cannot guarantee public safety. The disruptions and attacks come almost entirely from an […]

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Some New and Narrow Versions of Academic Freedom

The right to breathe is not generally understood as the right to choke others.  The right to move freely is not widely understood as the right to slip into your neighbor’s house in the middle of the night unannounced.  The right to listen to Neil Diamond’s greatest hits is not universally interpreted as the right […]

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Do Free Speech Students Outnumber the Snowflakes?

As Middlebury initiated what appears to be token punishments (single-term probation) for the students who disrupted the Charles Murray talk, the college’s student government (which has yet to condemn the disruptors in any way) passed a resolution demanding that Middlebury cease all punishment of students under the current college disciplinary code, lest they “contribute to […]

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NYU Professor Sides with “Snowflakes” Against Free Speech

Many leftist academics have denounced the recent spate of riots and shouting down of non-progressive speakers on college campuses – and good for them – but you knew that there were others who were glad to see students fighting back against such supposedly dangerous people as Charles Murray. One of them has put his thoughts […]

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Need a Commencement Speech? Try This One—It’s Free!

This is a generation that faces new challenges. You are not millennials, not Gen Xers, you are quite literally in a class by yourselves—the class of 2017. All around us we see changes we never expected, changes that demand acceptance—or “resistance.” There are economic and political alterations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. They are […]

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Radicals Stop a Rose Festival

I saw this on Althouse, Ann Althouse’s excellent blog: “You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” said the anonymous email that caused Portland, Oregon, to cancel its Rose Festival Parade. The local frenzied left said it […]

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Their Violence Is Free Speech, but Our Speech Is Violence

A ludicrous inversion has taken place. The speech of Charles Murray, Heather Mac Donald, and other conservatives whose ideas cross the race taboos of the left are claimed to be violent. It is now one of the truisms of identity politics that words can hurt. As Toni Morrison said in her 1993 Nobel Prize speech, “Oppressive language […]

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