What Lies Ahead in the Campus-Speech Wars?

Experts discuss the challenges they see on the horizon — and what colleges can do about them

September 13, 2017

College campuses have become free-speech battlegrounds — places where students spar over polarizing speakers, outside demonstrators stoke violence, and professors draw intense fire for offering provocative opinions. What should administrators with Middlebury, Berkeley, or Charlottesville on their minds expect in the coming academic year? How can they meet the challenges of promoting free expression while keeping their campuses secure?

The Chronicle asked a group of experts on the First Amendment, academic freedom, and higher education to weigh in. The experts, listed here in the order of their appearance, discuss the trends they see developing and the actions colleges and universities can consider to meet challenges head-on.

  • Catherine J. Ross, a law professor at George Washington University.
  • Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an associate professor of education and sociology at American University.
  • Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history and international relations at American University, and director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center.
  • Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University.
  • Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
  • Henry F. (Hank) Reichman, chairman of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom.
  • Peter Lake, a law professor at Stetson University, and director for the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy.

Julia Schmalz is a senior multimedia producer. She tells stories with photos, audio, and video. Follow her on Twitter @jschmalz09, or email her at julia.schmalz@chronicle.com