Free Speech Articles Worth Noting

Free Speech Articles Worth Noting

There are separate pages for articles on DEI Statements and Event Disruptions.

(1) Colorado State University Sign Directs Students 'Affected By a Free Speech Event' To Seek Help: `If you (or someone you know) are affected by a free speech event on campus, here are some resources...’, " ROBBY SOAVE | 1.31.2022 .

(2) Guaranteeing academic freedom with safe harbor provisions and pro bono litigation, Dorian Abbot, Substack (May 11, 2022).

     Now we get to the first part of Hasnas’s proposed solution: a safe harbor provision such as the following to be added to university freedom of expression policies: The University will summarily dismiss any allegation that an individual or group has violated a policy of the university if it determines the allegation to be based solely on the individual's or group's expression of his, her, or its religious, philosophical, literary, artistic, political, or scientific viewpoints. 

(3) Feminist Philosopher Disinvited from Speaking at Harvard over Trans Views, National Review (April 25, 2022).

   Dr. Devin Buckley had prepared a highly specialized talk on British romanticism that had nothing to do with gender or feminism, she told National Review, until coordinator Erin Saladin of the college’s English Department unearthed some of her scholarship on the Internet. On a more difficult note (especially for a Friday evening), I just looked up Devin Buckley so I could list the right title/affiliation on the application, and I noticed that she’s on the board of a trans-exclusionary radical feminist organization. I also found at least one piece of her writing online that explicitly denies the possibility of trans identity, Saladin wrote in an email obtained by National Review. I can’t ask for funding to invite a speaker who takes the public stance that trans people are dangerous or deceptive.

 (4) Cocooning Philosophers, Substack. (April 4, 2022).

   Most places back then were like this, I think... Philosophy departments were places where derision, incredulity, and scorn were manifested on a daily basis without any attempt to hide it.  You probably expect me to say how terrible this all was. Actually, I wonder if it wasn’t the best of all possible worlds in comparison to what came next. 

...Instead of trying to eviscerate the speaker with a devastating question, the new tendency was to try to be constructive and collaborative in one’s approach, identifying not what was wrong with the speaker’s argument, but what was right about it - a bit like the Two stars and a wish approach of the primary school teacher, and with about the same level of satisfying adult engagement.

(5) "My ACTA "Hero" acceptance speech," Heterodox Stem Substack, Dorian Abbot (April 8).

      The help of alumni and the public will be necessary to effect this solution. Although faculty can and should form academic freedom lobby groups, many faculty are so focused on their research that they will not participate. Even worse, there seem to be entire departments full of faculty who are antagonistic to free expression. So ironically we can’t count on the faculty to robustly defend their own academic freedom. Administrators often have incentives that are not aligned with the university’s mission, and cannot be relied upon either. In contrast, alumni are already forming groups to withhold donations and pressure universities to defend academic freedom and academic excellence. This should be continued, encouraged, and supported. Additionally, the public provides massive funding for universities through tuition and research grants. Conditions should be put on this funding, requiring that institutions which receive it adopt and enforce the principles outlined here. Finally, all of us who care about universities need to speak openly, including to journalists of all types (including scary conservatives), about the danger they are in, so that word gets out to alumni and the public, who are most likely to solve the problem. Although this is uncomfortable for many academics, including me, it is absolutely necessary.

(6) "The Yale Law School Protest and Karl Popper's Paradox of Tolerance,"  Substack, Eric Rasmusen, April 5.

     What Popper means by intolerance is closing your ears to opposing arguments and shutting down argument by force ... What the Wokefolk want to do is close their ears to opposing arguments and shut them down by force. Thus, by Popper's Paradox of Tolerance, it is Bethany Scott and the Wokefolk who should be shut down. Applied to the Yale Law School situation, Popper is suggesting that it might be acceptable to expel the entire group of protesters and and ban the student groups who organized the protest.

(7) "I’m a Conservative Professor Who Opposed Safe Spaces. I Was Wrong," New York Times, Jon Shields (April 7, 2022).

      Statements of abstract principle — like the liberal tradition from which they spring — neglect the concrete social norms necessary to facilitate and regulate the collective search for truth in college classrooms ... All of us who teach controversial subjects are struggling to identify and cultivate these norms ... Students lobbied for a version of the Vegas rule since they worried about their comments spilling out into social media land. So, I told them: What happens in Government 137B, stays in Government 137B.

    ... I have to confess that in asking students to maintain our classroom as a place of private deliberation I am asking them to keep quiet — and all in the name of open and free expression.

(8) "Understanding MIT’s Free Speech Crisis: What happened when the university canceled a lecture by an outspoken geophysicist who had criticized DEI practices," Dylan Croll, The Dispatch (June 20, 2022).

If there’s a silver lining to this whole debacle at MIT, it’s that people are now talking more freely about the whole issue, Emanuel says. I think there was a feeling by many, and I certainly had it that you couldn’t talk about it because you certainly couldn’t criticize a policy because you know, you’d immediately be subject to being labeled a racist or something like that.