Today, The Best Schools was proud to publish James Barham’s interview with campus free speech campaigner Greg Lukianoff. Much that he told us should be disturbing to anyone interested in higher education:
TBS: While reading your book, we were dogged by the terrible thought that the battle for freedom of speech (excerpt) may have already been lost—in the hearts and minds of today’s students. What do you think?
GL: Great question, and I am haunted by this all the time. I list so many examples of truly outrageous violations of students’ free speech and due process rights in Unlearning Liberty, but the fact that disturbs me the most is that even in the most egregious cases, it is very rare that either students or professors come to the aid of a friend or colleague whose rights have been violated. The Hayden Barnes case is not just outrageous because the student was kicked out of college for a collage, it’s outrageous because, as best I can tell, virtually none of his fellow students or professors raised a finger to help.
And there is scary evidence that a whole generation’s attitude about free speech is getting worse. Here is a snippet of my most recent Huffington Post article analyzing trends in free speech on campus over the past 10 years:
This summer, the First Amendment Center unveiled its annual survey of attitudes about free speech and found that a startling 47% of young people believe that the First Amendment “goes too far.” While I hope that this is an anomalous fluctuation, it seems almost inevitable that if campuses show at best impatience with, and at worst outright hostility to, free speech, it would eventually produce students who take free speech for granted and even show support for “enlightened” censors. More.