Civil Discourse and Academic Freedom

The Freedom To Hear Offensive Speech

Much has been made of the spate of episodes on university campuses involving students and faculty seeking to block graduation speakers with whom they vehemently disagree. In the name of tolerance, transparency and “conversation,” too often the intolerant, a numerical…

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The Closing of the Collegiate Mind

There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs…

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The Closing of the Academic Mind

Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn recently proposed in The Harvard Crimson that academics should be stopped if their research is deemed oppressive. Arguing that “academic justice” should replace “academic freedom,” she writes: “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why…

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A triumph for the Boston Bombers

The two bombers who killed and maimed innocent people at the Boston marathon a year ago had come as refugees to America, from conflicts that America and her people did nothing to cause. They had been granted the privileges of a law-abiding…

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Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the…

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They Simply Wanted Me to be Silenced

On Tuesday, officials at Brandeis University backed off granting an honorary degree to Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Alian, a staunch women’s advocate and fierce critic of Islam, due to many faculty members’ requests and a large online petition. Here is Ali’s statement in…

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Faculty letter squelches campus voices

The “Open Letter in Defense of Academic Freedom in Palestine/Israel and the United States,” signed by 39 Vassar professors and published March 1st, is a disturbing document, although not in the way intended. To many alumni, it is a jarring…

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When free speech is harassed on college campuses

Three weeks ago, a California professor was ambling across her campus when she saw a teenager holding up a political sign she didn’t like. What happened next reveals a larger problem: the steady assault on free speech at universities. Associate…

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First Amendment Experts Debate Anti-BDS Bill

Can Congress withhold funds from universities that adopt anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) policies?  Two widely respected First Amendment experts disagree.  Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment practitioner, argues that the new Roskam-Lapinski Bill is unconstitutional.  Eugene Volokh, a leading First…

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