Why a Broad View of Academic Freedom Is Essential
This is the third in a series of five guest posts we are publishing this week as the co-authors of a new book published by Oxford University Press titled “Unassailable Ideas: How Unwritten Rules and Social Media Shape Discourse in American Higher Education.” The previous guest posts from this series can be found here and here.
Is there an academic freedom problem on campuses? It could be argued that the answer is no, because each year college instructors and researchers publish thousands of papers, teach thousands of classes, and issue thousands of social media posts that generate no controversy at all. But the scope of a freedom is defined by its boundaries. As we wrote:
By analogy, consider the scope of a different freedom: freedom of expression under the First Amendment … [I]t is precisely when the boundaries are tested that the protective power of [a freedom] springs into action. We wouldn’t need a First Amendment to protect the right to make completely uncontroversial statements such as “I like ice cream.” Rather, the power of the First Amendment is that it protects people’s right to say and write things that they might otherwise be prohibited from (or punished for) expressing.
Article from Latest – Reason.com