National Free Speech News & Commentary

More Free-Speech Recognition for UNC Schools

September 28, 2023 1 min read

Jenna A. Robinson
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Excerpt: Last week, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte won Heterodox Academy’s “Institutional Excellence Award” for having “done the most to advance or sustain open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement either on its own campus or nationally.”

UNC-Chapel Hill trustee Perrin Jones told the Martin Center, “The Carolina Community—our students, administrators, trustees, and faculty—is in agreement about the important role that freedom of thought, conscience, and speech play within both the university and our broader society.” Jones, who spearheaded trustee efforts on free expression and institutional neutrality, added, “UNC, as it has done before, is proud to lead the way in protecting, and advancing, these freedoms.”
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Anti-free speech trends on campus threaten freedom but can be reversed

September 27, 2023 1 min read

Adam Goldstein
Washington Examiner

Excerpt: There has always been illiberalism on campus — at least, that’s what critics looking to hand-wave away concerns about cancel culture in higher education claim. But the insight that illiberalism predates cancel culture is as useful as saying that fire predates gasoline: It is both correct and astonishingly naive.

At the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, we collect a great deal of data about the higher education system, and our findings should alarm everyone.
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A Clash Over Student Journalism

September 26, 2023 1 min read

Johanna Alonso
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Last February, reporters on the Ashland University student newspaper set out to cover a town hall on campus. Seven months later, their adviser was dismissed and the administration began seeking increased oversight of the paper, The Collegian. How did the relationship between the student journalists and Ashland administrators fall apart so fast?
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Why Is TED Scared of Color Blindness?

September 26, 2023 1 min read

Coleman Hughes
The Free Press

Excerpt: Like any young writer, I am well aware that an invitation to speak at TED can be a career-changing opportunity. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I was invited to appear at this year’s annual conference. What I could not have imagined from an organization whose tagline is “ideas worth spreading” is that it would attempt to suppress my own.

According to its website, TED’s mission is to “discover and spread ideas that spark imagination, embrace possibility, and catalyze impact.” They claim to be “devoted to curiosity, reason, wonder, and the pursuit of knowledge—without an agenda.” My experience suggests otherwise, with TED falling far short of those ambitions and instead displaying all the hallmarks of an institution captured by the new progressive orthodoxy.
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Panel Event: How Can Universities Reform Themselves to Protect Open Inquiry on Campus?

September 26, 2023 1 min read

Heterodox Academy Panel Discussion, Wednesday, September 27, 4pm ET

Excerpt: Many colleges and universities are taking, or re-stating, official positions and principles on issues of open inquiry and free expression on campus – sometimes in response to external pressure, or through influence from varying campus groups.

What does this trend tell us, if anything, about the direction of higher education? Are official statements just cheap lip service? Or is this a moment for faculty to organize on campus to create positive change – and if so, what might that look like?
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Supreme Court Is Asked to Rule on Campus Speech Codes at Virginia Tech

September 25, 2023 1 min read

Dan McLaughlin
National Review

Excerpt: One case that isn’t quite ready to be considered Tuesday, but could intrigue the justices, is Speech First, Inc. v. Sands (No. 23-156), which challenges campus speech codes. The case comes from a divided panel decision of the Fourth Circuit, which rejected challenges to two Virginia Tech campus speech policies.

Virginia Tech has backed off the policy since the suit was filed. FIRE also notes that “time and time again, [it] has seen universities revise unconstitutional policies, only to bring them back when there is employee or state government turnover.” Given the widespread use of such policies and the open circuit split on their legality, it would seem a fit time for the Court to get involved.
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