June 22, 2018

GOOD: Princeton Takes a Stand for Free Speech on Campus.

Much of the news regarding free speech on campus is enough to make anyone despair. Year after year more people and ideas are muzzled.

But some very heartening news of late comes from Princeton. Due largely to a new book promoting free speech by Princeton University political scientist Keith Whittington and the unusual support and campus-wide promotion of the book by Princeton’s president Chris Eisgruber, Princeton is now in the forefront of those American colleges and universities that have said “stop” to the onslaught of thuggish campus militants intent on shutting down free speech. This latest development comes on the heels of several other very positive developments on the free-speech front at Princeton.

Three years ago, in April of 2015, the governing board of the faculty at Princeton adopted the main body of what has come to be known as the Chicago Principles of free speech and free expression. Originally drawn up by a committee of the University of Chicago chaired by law professor Geoffrey R. Stone, these principles condemned the suppression of views no matter how “offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed [they may appear] by some or even by most members of the University community.”

Princeton’s version of the Chicago Principles was proposed by mathematics professor Sergiu Klainerman and 60 faculty members of diverse political persuasions. Klainerman grew up in Communist-ruled Romania and observed first-hand how tyrannical power can be used to stifle important criticism and debate. He saw American colleges and universities being threatened by the same sort of intolerant forces that had ruled his homeland, and along with several other Princeton faculty members, was determined to halt the menacing developments he was witnessing in America.

Like I said, good.

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