Free speech has been a historically volatile issue in higher education. In recent years, however, there has been a surge of progressive censorship on campus. This wave of censorship has been characterized by the explosive growth of such policies as "trigger warnings" for course materials; "safe spaces" where students are protected from speech they consider harmful or distressing; "micro-aggression" policies that often strongly discourage the use of words that might offend sensitive individuals; new "bias-reporting" programs that consist of different degrees of campus surveillance; the "dis-invitation" of a growing list of speakers, including many in the mainstream of American politics and values; and the prominent "shouting down" or disruption of speakers deemed inconsistent with progressive ideology. Not to be outdone, external forces on the right are now engaging in social media bullying of speakers and teachers whose views upset them.

The essays in this collection, written by prominent philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, and legal scholars, examine the issues at the forefront of the crisis of free speech in higher education. The contributors address the broader historical, cultural, legal, and normative contexts of the current crisis, and take care to analyze the role of "due process" in protecting academic freedom and individuals accused of misconduct. Additionally, the volume is unique in that it advances practical remedies to campus censorship, as the editors and many of the contributors have participated in movements to remedy limitations on free speech and open inquiry. The Value and Limits of Academic Speech will educate academic professionals and informed citizens about the phenomenon of progressive censorship and its implications for higher education and the republic.

chapter |20 pages


ByDonald Alexander Downs, Chris W. Surprenant

chapter 1|10 pages

Philosophy, Controversy, and Freedom of Speech 1

ByPeter Singer

chapter 2|16 pages

Why Academic Freedom?

ByBrian Leiter

chapter 3|17 pages

Free Speech and Ideological Diversity on American College Campuses 1

ByKeith E. Whittington

chapter 4|14 pages

Are Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Congruent or Opposed?

ByJames R. Stoner

chapter 5|18 pages

Freedom of Expression at the Private University 1

ByJohn Hasnas

chapter 6|19 pages

Outside Funding to Centers

A Challenge to Institutional Mission?
ByJason Brennan

chapter 7|21 pages


An Event-Based Feinbergian Account 1
ByAndrew J. Cohen

chapter 8|19 pages

The Difference Between Being Offended and Taking Offense 1

ByMichael Joel Kessler

chapter 9|12 pages

The Necessity of Offense 1

ByShane D. Courtland

chapter 10|20 pages

‘Words that Wound’ in the Classroom 1

Should They Be Silenced or Discussed?
ByChristina Easton

chapter 11|18 pages

Speech and War

Rethinking the Ethics of Speech Restrictions 1
ByBurkay T. Ozturk, Bob Fischer

chapter 12|18 pages

Growing-Up Disturbed

ByFrank Furedi

chapter 13|12 pages

Don’t Make Me Laugh

Speech Codes and the Humorless Campus
ByEdward Johnson

chapter 14|13 pages

Sex, Liberty, and Freedom of Expression at the American University

ByEvan Gerstmann

chapter 15|18 pages

Skepticism About Title IX Culture

ByJ.K. Miles

chapter 16|19 pages

From Academic Freedom to Academic Responsibility

Privileges and Responsibilities Regarding Speech on Campus
ByArianne Shahvisi

chapter 18|12 pages

When Free Speech Is False Speech

BySarah Conly

chapter 19|19 pages

The Plausibility of Abhorrent Views, and Why it Matters

ByCalum Miller

chapter 20|18 pages

Safeguarding Academic Freedom on Campus Through Faculty Governance

ByRima Najjar Kapitan