Freedom of Speech on Campus
Read More >>
Since the late 1980s, colleges and universities around America have come under attack for what has frequently been termed "political correctness." Administrators, students, and even faculty are accused of imposing restrictions on speech in their schools by both formal and informal means for the sake of advancing liberal political goals. Such restrictions originally took the form of "speech codes," which were typically part of harassment policies in schools' codes of conduct that instituted penalties for vaguely defined forms of expression that were disparaging of certain identity groups. More recently, schools have been criticized for disinviting speakers under pressure from political student groups and for permitting students to disrupt events with invited speakers. Attention has also been brought to a recent trend in the use of "trigger warnings," which are meant to warn students that they will hear something that might traumatize them, and "safe spaces," which are zones in which students are guaranteed to be safe from offense. In public universities, these practices have raised constitutional questions, and speech codes, at least, have been consistently struck down by courts. In private schools these practices nevertheless raise questions about the role of freedom of speech in higher education.