Free Speech On Campus

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.

What are the threats to free speech and open inquiry on your campus? Learn Liberty, a project of IHS, offers hundreds of videos in which we investigate the principles behind a free society, including academic freedom.


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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


Check out the Learn Liberty videos and articles below and take the Free Speech on-demand program.

Learn Liberty

Free Speech - Trigger Warnings, Academic Freedom, and More

Learn Liberty offers you a series of videos on new and exciting topics in the world of policy and ideas that you can watch anytime, anywhere, on your schedule. Have you ever wondered if Free Speech has its limits?

You’ve got freedom of speech, but you’re not free to shout fire in a crowded theater? What about hate speech? Triggering speech? In this special On Demand program, we dive deep into topics related to free speech. Join Professor Tom Bell, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the Institute for Justice, and learn about rights so fundamental, they’re in the very First Amendment.

Read articles featured on Learn Liberty's blog.

- Putin’s Crackdown on Social Media Provides One Important Reminder to Americans

- J.K. Rowling: Trump’s Freedom to Speak Protects My Right to Call Him a Bigot

- The Danger of Safe Spaces

- Court to North Carolina State: Stop Requiring Students to Get a License to Speak

- Desperate Students to College Administrators: Stop Being Paternalistic Babysitters