Monday, July 15

New White Paper Published on Academic Freedom and Hate Speech


The Center has published a new white paper on academic freedom and hate speech. Dr. Craig Smith, Director Emeritus of the Center, explains the difference between academic freedom and freedom of expression, and what that means to students and educators in the classroom. In the end, Dr. Smith offers eight items to consider when thinking about academic freedom, hate speech, and the school environment: (1) be as careful as possible when composing a syllabus to understand that it is a contract between students and educators, (2) when acting in an official capacity, whether you are staff, faculty, or student, your speech is not protected by the First Amendment, (3) when not in the class and not acting in an official capacity, most of your communication is protected by the First Amendment, (4) campuses may be capable of proscribing repeated hate speech by using the context driven workplace model, (5) campuses should create a forum where free speech is encouraged and sometimes answered, (6) it remains important to define and condemn hate speech with moral force, (7) establish records of sustained patterns of hate speech which create a hostile learning environment and punish those guilty of creating such environment, (8) there may be precedent for officials to allow the imposition of stiffer penalties when a campus offense is committed in the context of hate speech.