User login

Join The Debate

Cast your vote and join the conversation.

Membership is free.

Get Started

Warning message

The subscription service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Protests have erupted on university campuses across the country. To many, these students are speaking out against racial injustice that has long been manifested in unwelcoming, sometimes hostile environments. But to critics, their demands have gone too far, creating an atmosphere of intolerance for opposing or unpopular points of view. Are the protestors silencing free speech, or are they just trying to be heard? And are the universities responding by defending free speech, or by suppressing it?


Political correctness is a system of thought that denies the legitimacy of political pluralism on issues of race and gender.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Jonathan Chait

We cannot be so convinced of the rightness of all our views that we seek to impose rather than propose them; we cannot be so thoroughgoing in our skepticism that we refuse to protect individual rights.

Monday, January 25, 2016
Ramesh Ponnuru

In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don'€™t like.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

A fight over Halloween costumes at Yale has devolved into an effort to censor dissenting views.

Monday, November 9, 2015
Conor Friedersdorf

The encroachment of behavioral guidelines into the social and even intellectual spheres comes at a cost.

Friday, February 5, 2016
A. Douglas Stone and Mary Schwab-Stone

The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Jelani Cobb

Today's campus activists are raising urgent questions about the proper character of the university, initiating debates that will only grow broader and more important as the campus movement continues to develop.

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Angus Johnston

It is just too easy to take the most extreme incidents, caricature them even further and then conclude that today'€™s college students '€œjust don'€™t get it'€ '€” when, in point of fact, there is probably a lot more that external observers aren'€™t getting.

Monday, November 9, 2015
Daniel Drezner

Across the country, student protesters joined the fight for racial progress.

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Jamil Smith

The students are asking society to engage diversity at a deeper level: inquiring not merely about how campuses should look, but what diverse campuses should do in terms of classroom and community dynamics.

Monday, November 30, 2015
Tomiko Brown-Nagin

This cheat sheet and timeline provide a working overview of how things look right now and include highlights from some of the most high-profile campus protests.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Alia Wong and Adrienne Green

A list of formal demands made at 51 U.S. campuses has been collected on a website called The Demands. FiveThirtyEight sorted through the list, categorizing each request and looking for patterns in the students'€™ priorities.

Thursday, December 3, 2015
Leah Libresco

It may seem like American colleges suddenly have a race problem, but observers say this recent rash of racial harassment is not unprecedented.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Brandon Griggs

A look at on and off-campus coverage of the Yale protests.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Danny Funt

Faced with 14 pages of demands by black students, he says that he won't respond to "any document that explicitly rejects the notion of collaborative engagement."

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Scott Jaschik

This academic year, administrators have wrestled with a deluge of student demands related to cultural and racial issues on campus. Some have been met. Here'€™s a recap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Kate Sinclair
Debating the Protests

Staff notes and reader reactions to the controversies over race and free speech on college campuses.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Cobb of The New Yorker join Gwen Ifill to discuss questions of free speech and its limitations.

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Gwen Ifill

Seven students talk about the problems, the protests and themselves.

Monday, February 1, 2016
As told to Abby Ellin

New York Times journalists, student activists and college administrators discussed race on college campuses.

Thursday, February 4, 2016
New York Times

See page 47 of survey results for answers to the questions about speech.

Friday, May 13, 2016
Kevin Eagan

A national survey of 800 undergraduate students asking questions regarding free speech and intellectual diversity on campuses.

Monday, October 26, 2015
McLaughlin & Associates

American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.

Friday, November 20, 2015
Jacob Poushter