Universities and Free Speech

As students head back to campus, this Review of the Week highlights a new take on free speech at the university

Free speech on campus

Ben-Porath, Sigal R. Pennsylvania, 2017
128 pages, 9780812250077 $19.95, 9780812294927 $16.95

Free speech on campus book cover

College campuses are important venues for the discussion of free expression and have drawn increased attention for their handling of some notable instances. News coverage tends to focus on events in which disputes—even violence—occur rather than campuses where free speech and protest peacefully coexist with the educational mission. Coincidentally, another book titled Free Speech on Campus (Yale) was published the same year, but its focus is much more on legal arguments. Rather than engage in a legal analysis, Ben-Porath (Univ. of Pennsylvania) examines campus speech controversy through a lens of inclusion. She asserts that legal analysis alone cannot do everything necessary to protect free speech on campus. She describes “inclusive freedom” as an approach “that takes into account the necessity of protecting free speech in order to protect democracy and the pursuit of knowledge while recognizing the equal necessity of making sure that all are included in the ensuing conversation” (p. 12). The book contains recent examples of campus free speech controversies and concludes with recommendations for actions that students, faculty, and administrators can take to make their campuses more receptive to free speech. Campus administrators should especially read this book.

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, professionals, and practitioners.
Reviewer: D. Caristi, Ball State University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Education
Choice Issue: Sep 2018