Free Speech on College Campuses: A Bottom-up Approach

Kicking off a series of videos featuring top scholars co-produced by the Institute for Humane Studies and Big Think, IHS President Emily Chamlee-Wright discusses different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.

Instead of speech regulation by a committee or administrator, Chamlee-Wright suggests a “bottom-up” approach where each faculty member acts as a “curator” of speech in their classes and lectures. This style of governance allows judgment of speakers and readings in a marketplace of ideas and avoids one ideology holding sway over an entire campus.

A de-centralized approach also acts to remove the corrupting influence of decision-making concentrated in the hands of a few. Chamlee-Wright notes:

“If we’re members of the campus community, we become part of the curatorial process, but none of us has so much power that we can corrupt it.”

Look for more of our video series with Big Think as we discuss how to improve civil discourse in the academy and beyond. For more information on our free speech and open inquiry (FSOI) initiative, visit the FSOI section of our website.

See more posts: Big ThinkIdeasIHS NewsVideo 

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