Can free speech coexist with an inclusive campus environment? Hardly a week goes by without another controversy over free speech on college campuses. On one side, there are increased demands to censor hateful, disrespectful, and bullying expression and to ensure an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. On the other side are traditional free speech advocates who charge that recent demands for censorship coddle students and threaten free inquiry. In this clear and carefully reasoned book, a university chancellor and a law school dean--both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates--argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas. This book provides the background necessary to understanding the importance of free speech on campus and offers clear prescriptions for what colleges can and can't do when dealing with free speech controversies.
For constitutionalists, regulation of hate speech violates the First Amendment and damages a free society. Waldron rejects this view, and makes the case that hate speech should be regulated as part of a commitment to human dignity and to inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities.
This book proposes an original policy framework for addressing hate speech. Gelber argues that a policy designed to provide support to affected groups and communities to enable them to speak back when hate speech occurs, is a more useful way of addressing the harms of hate speech than punitive measures. She suggests that "speaking back" allows the affected groups to contradict the messages contained in the words of the hate speakers, and to counteract the silencing, disempowering and marginalising effects of hate speech. Gelber's argument uniquely synthesises the ideas of defending the importance of participating in speech, recognising the harms of hate speech and acknowledging that targeted groups may require assistance to respond.
Free speech is being tested on college campuses by rising numbers of hate crimes and deepening racial tensions, according to a report released today by PEN America, a human-rights association of writers and editors. But the Trump administration’s warnings of a "crisis" overstate the problem, it says, and risk further polarizing colleges.