Universities Limit Free Speech

(p. F10) Ask Andrea M. Quenette if she thinks that colleges and universities are doing a good job refereeing the debate over free speech, and she’ll respond with an emphatic ‘no.’
“Schools are not doing enough to protect free speech,” Ms. Quenette, a communications professor at the University of Kansas, said in an email. “Specifically, they are protecting the speech of some, those whom they fear or those voices which are loudest, but they are not protecting the speech of those whose voices are easier to silence. Generally, these quieter voices are those of faculty and staff who should rightfully fear for their jobs should they use unpopular, but legally protected, words.”
. . .
According to a poll recently released by the Gallup Organization, 78 percent of 3,072 students from 32 four-year private and public colleges believed their campuses should strive to create an open environment where they would be exposed to a range of speech and views. Twenty-two percent noted that “colleges should prohibit biased or offensive speech in the furtherance of a positive learning environment.” But 69 percent favored limitations on speech when it came to language that was deliberately upsetting to some groups.
An October 2015 survey of 800 students nationwide, sponsored by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale, reported that 63 percent favored requiring professors to use “trigger warnings” to alert students to subject matter that might be unsettling. By a 51 percent to 36 percent margin, students also supported speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty.

For the full story, see:
ABBY ELLIN. “Studies in Free Speech.” The New York Times (Thurs., JUNE 23, 2016): F10.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JUNE 22, 2016, and has the title “Studies in the First Amendment, Playing Out on Campus.”)

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