The Value and Limits of Academic Speech

... The Institute for Humane Studies is excited to announce the release of a new collection of essays titled, The Value and Limits of Academic Speech. Edited by Donald Downs and Christopher Surprenant, the volume features a diverse lineup of respected political scientists, philosophers, sociologists and more, who explore historical, cultural, legal, and normative facets of campus speech ...

A few weeks ago, as I sat down to write this piece, I made the mistake of opening up Facebook and having the misfortune of seeing that a friend had posted an article containing an interview with a woman who went on a date with comedian Aziz Ansari and had “the worst night of life.” At this point, you’re likely familiar with this article, and the subsequent discussion regarding whether or not the woman was sexually assaulted, what obligations people have generally to leave situations in which they are uncomfortable, and the general difficulty and awkwardness that comes with navigating the world of sexual relationships. I do not wish to comment on any of that here ...

As co-editors of The Value and Limits of Academic Speech, Chris and I decided that our main task in writing the introductory essay was to preview the volume by emphasizing a set of common themes within an overarching narrative of historical development and conflict. This was no easy task given the many different dimensions of the campus free speech and academic freedom conflict, several of which are represented by our authors. No doubt we could have emphasized other themes and aspects, and contributors to this online discussion forum sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies as well as reviewers of the volume are encouraged to chime in ...