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 A Free-Speech To-Do List for College Administrators

A Free-Speech To-Do List for College Administrators

By Erwin Chemerinsky andHoward Gillman, The Wall Street Journal

During the past year appearances by controversial speakers on college campuses have led to a string of tense, sometimes violent, incidents. As students return to school, administrators will again face the challenge of protecting freedom of speech while ensuring safety for their students, staff and faculty. We offer this checklist to help them prepare for the difficult issues that are sure to arise.

1. Disseminate a clear statement of free-speech values and create opportunities to teach the campus community about free speech. Senior administrators at colleges and universities need to communicate with their communities the vital importance of freedom of expression and academic freedom for higher education. At a minimum, they must state that all ideas and views can be expressed, no matter how controversial or offensive, and must explain why a university can’t fulfill its core purpose without this freedom.

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