When Presidents Speak Out, They Encourage Students to Do the Same
Teaching students to express themselves clearly and persuasively should be one of the core outcomes of a college education. Too often, however, our pedagogy on free speech seems woefully inadequate as campuses wrestle with fallout from confrontations on the quad, heckling that shuts down speakers, and rules banning certain forms of speech. Notorious cases like last semester’s incident at Stanford Law School, in which student hecklers prevented a federal appeals-court judge from speaking, demonstrate that we are not doing enough to teach students how to exercise their free-speech rights effectively. Debating Judge Kyle Duncan would have been far better than shouting him down. The more recent outbreak of campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war has sharpened the free-speech debate.
Originally published: October 26, 2023
Author: Patricia McGuire
Institution: Trinity Washington University
Published by: The Chronicle of Higher Ed