National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood has a new article (originally published at Minding the Campus) on the University of Chicago’s 2015 statement on free expression. Robert P. George, FIRE, ACTA, and others, many of whom are NAS members and good friends, have lauded the report as the example for all American colleges and universities to follow.
Peter, too, praises the statement as an eloquent and “welcome counter-measure” to the excesses of campus political correctness in which activists seek to stifle the speech of those with whom they disagree. But in this essay he shows that the statement has four flaws: It “ignores the need for true speech, wrongly elevates free speech over teaching, fails to say why free speech is important on college campuses, and is conducive to the further trivialization of the university.”
He elaborates in his provocative piece, and offers a nuanced view of free expression in the special context of higher education.