Ideological Battlegrounds or Communities of Free Inquiry?

berkeley miloOver at Inside Higher Ed, Liz Reisberg takes a global perspective on recent free speech and academic freedom controversies at American colleges and universities. Here is a taste:

Open, uncensored discourse is fundamental to academic freedom. Yet the daily higher ed press is awash with examples of debate and free speech being denied. Remarkably many of the restraints on academic freedom are being imposed by students! The chaos and destruction caused at Berkeley earlier this year prompted by the planned appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos and the confrontations at Middlebury College at a talk scheduled with Charles Murray have been covered extensively in the professional and general press.  More recently students shut down an open forum took place at the College of William & Mary when students affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement impeded a talk by a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union. Ironically, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU’s Virginia chapter, was there to discuss free speech. Columbia students shouted down a video appearance by Tommy Robinson. Perhaps more alarming, administrators do not seem to be able to find a constructive strategy for dealing with raging students other than punish them or cancel controversial speakers. 

Read the entire piece here.