Free speech and open inquiry on campus has been a critical part of social change throughout American History. From UC Berkeley students organizing during the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests to modern day movements around LGBTQ issues, immigration policies, Black Lives Matter, and more, free speech on campus guarantees our ability to stand up for what we believe in.
Free speech is vital in a liberal society. Open dialogue allows people to resolve issues peacefully while learning from each other in the process. The ability to freely express our thoughts, beliefs, and desires has been at the root of every lasting social advancement because persuasion is much more powerful than coercion. Speech—no matter the content or its messenger—should be met with speech.
Communities that embrace free speech are strengthened by new and different ideas. The principles of free speech protect the rights of all individuals, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. As leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated on many occasions, the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly are essential for protesting injustices and fostering social change.
IHS supports free speech and open inquiry on campus, because we understand that to silence minority viewpoints is undemocratic and counterproductive. Where would we be, as a nation, if those who supported desegregation were silenced on campus? Ultimately, we are either choosing between persuasion or force. We choose persuasion and a marketplace of ideas.
We are working with professors and partners to host free speech events on campuses across the country. Check back soon for upcoming events. If you have any questions about on-campus events or would like to get involved, please email us at OnCampusEd@TheIHS.org.