PFS Podcast: John Rose on free speech in his college classroom

September 21, 2021 1 min read

John Rose, associate director of the Arete Initiative at Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, joined us on our latest podcast to discuss his recent Wall Street Journal column about how he nurtures true civil discourse in his classroom and what he has learned from the experience. While helping to coordinate Arete’s programming, Rose teaches courses in happiness and human flourishing, Christian ethics, conservatism, and political polarization. He was interviewed by Lawrence Haas, a board member of Princetonians for Free Speech.

Rose revealed that he learned – from speaking with students privately in one-on-one settings – that many of them wanted to engage in honest debate, to explore all sides of complicated issues, but were afraid to do so. When he surveyed 110 students anonymously this spring, 68 percent of them revealed that they censor themselves on certain political topics, even with good friends. Nevertheless, Rose found a way to nurture honest debate in his classroom. After establishing rules that, among other things, allowed for the airing of differing opinions and assumed good will on all sides, he watched his students “flourish,” as he put it. They discussed such hot-button issues as critical race theory and abortion. But, as he acknowledges, whether other teachers, at Duke and on other campuses, try to follow his lead remains very much an open question.

Link to Podcast


Leave a comment


Also in Princeton Free Speech News & Commentary

Commentary: Progressives failed a lesson in free speech

April 19, 2024 1 min read

Anais Mobarak
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Last spring, my Arabic language instructor instituted a policy that non-Muslim students refrain from eating or drinking in class during Ramadan. When I objected to this rule, she told me that the problem with Americans is that we “care too much about our rights.” As such, I was very surprised to see her name appear on an open letter demanding that the administration “defend academic freedom, freedom of speech, and the right to peaceful assembly” in the context of advocacy for “Palestinian liberation.”

Unfortunately, the recent controversy surrounding Charter Club has demonstrated that progressive voices on campus have failed to recognize the value of free speech beyond its usefulness as a political instrument. Thus, as a community, we must work to foster an ideologically-free understanding of free speech.
Read More
Commentary: Will Bardenwerper: The elite students and the professor they wouldn’t eat with

April 18, 2024 1 min read

Will Bardenwerper
Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Excerpt: The article was so bizarre I thought it might be an April Fool’s hoax, given the April 1 byline. The author of “We must not let eating clubs be ideological safe spaces” in The Daily Princetonian had invited a prominent Princeton professor to join him as a guest for lunch at his “eating club” (essentially a private club serving as hybrid dining hall and fraternity/sorority for Princeton juniors and seniors). He later learned that a “group of membership” felt “caught off guard” when they saw the professor, and they were deeply upset by his presence.

If our future leaders are coddled to the point that they cannot share a dining room with an accomplished professor with whom they disagree, where does that leave us as a country? What good comes from four years spent reinforcing the ideas one arrived on campus with?
Read More
Commentary: America, Jews, and the Ivy League

April 16, 2024 1 min read

Tal Fortgang
Commentary

Excerpt: Once upon a time, not even a decade ago, the most important place in the world to me was a nondescript building on Washington Road in Princeton, New Jersey. Sitting in the shadow of Princeton University’s vaunted eating clubs, the Center for Jewish Life hosted daily prayer services, kosher meals, and most of the memorable conversations that made Princeton so formative for me.

It was Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living that was in the news this past October after an undergraduate threatened to “shoot up” the building, “stab” and “slit the throat” of any Jews he saw there, rape any Jewish women he encountered, behead any Jewish babies, and “shoot all you pig jews.” His threat put a fine point on the major dilemma American Jews must now confront. Are the Ivies our Promised Land or, in the post–October 7 era, a place where we might be gathering for annihilation?
Read More