We argue about campus free speech because we forget what the university is for

We argue about campus free speech because we forget what the university is for


The combination of highly visible protests combined with the varying university responses has lately reignited the debate over free speech on campus. Longstanding opponents of free speech have suddenly declared its importance, and have noticed how recent ideas about how to erode cultural and jurisprudential free speech norms might actually be used for ill — that is, might actually be used against people they like. 

As Steve McGuire of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni noted on X, publications from the New York Times to Vox that have spent years sounding reluctant to say anything positive about America’s unusually broad legal protections for speech now seem to regret it, as universities crack down on student encampments protesting for Gaza. “It has not gone unnoticed

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