When we refuse to even have conversations on divisive issues, we help create a culture that fosters silence instead of exploration and innovation. New ideas cannot flourish and progress cannot be made in a society that fears talking it out.
Censoring offensive speech is the wrong answer, particularly on our nation's college campuses. After all, the college campus has traditionally been an arena for debate and dialogue, and has been deemed by the Supreme Court to be "peculiarly the 'marketplace of ideas.'"
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has published a second edition of its outstanding Guide to Free Speech on Campus, one of its five Guides to Student Rights on Campus. Every college student should read this book.
Parody, satire, humor, and puns are fully part of the marketplace of ideas, and it is unacceptable for a university like Tufts to violate its promises and abuse its "bias incident" policy to decide which jokes may or may not be told on campus.
At the same time the Supreme Court is poised to decide if FCC-imposed limits on "indecent" content in broadcast media are an anachronism from a bygone era, Arizona state legislators want to limit what college professors say and do to only what is fit for a Disney movie.
Colleges are all over the map when they try to come up with their own definitions of sexual harassment. Our research has found hundreds of distinct formulations and examples, a large number of which are unconstitutional.
While I am excited to see Stout offering to educate the community about the First Amendment, it is not the university community that needs educating. It is Sorensen, Police Chief Lisa A. Walter and their fellow administrators who need it.
A time comes for every campus leader when a mistake is made. If you serve long enough, errors are inevitable, but leaders shouldn't be judged for their errancy, but how they handle mistakes when they happen.
Harvard has missed something that I fear much of our society has lost sight of: Even if by some weird and lucky coincidence we happened to be right about every belief we cherish, we nevertheless tend not to understand why we hold those values until they are challenged.
A lot of fraternities seem to know that their freedom of association is protected by the First Amendment. What fraternities often do not know, however, is that there are several different kinds of freedom of association.