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Debates

Liberals Are Stifling Intellectual Diversity On Campus

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  • Free Speech and Religious Campuses

    Clip: Greg Lukianoff argues that religious universities have explicit policies regarding free speech and are not stifling in the same way as liberal academia.

  • Trigger Warnings and Academic Censorship

    Clip: Student activism historian Angus Johnston and Fox's Kirsten Powers disagree over trigger warnings and censorship on college campuses.

Debate Details

What is college for? For many, it’s a time for personal and intellectual growth, to meet new people, and to explore ideas and philosophies that challenge their beliefs. Or is it? Recent cancellations of conservative speakers, rescinded honorary degrees, and scrutiny of certain campus groups have heightened perceptions that there is pervasive liberal intolerance on campuses. Are liberals shutting down speech and debate on campus? Or is this theory a myth, based on the preponderance of liberals at universities rather than intentionally discriminatory actions?

The Debaters

For the motion

Greg Lukianoff

President, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and... Read More

Kirsten Powers

Columnist, USA Today & Contributor, FOX News

Kirsten Powers is a columnist for USA Today and Daily Beast, where she writes about politics, human rights, and faith, and the author of the forthcoming... Read More

Against the motion

Angus Johnston

Historian of Student Activism

Angus Johnston is a historian of American student activism, and of student life and culture more broadly. An advocate of student organizing, he is... Read More

Jeremy Mayer

Assoc. Prof., George Mason & Co-Author, Closed Minds?

Jeremy Mayer is an associate professor in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University. Most recently, he... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Liberals are shutting down speech that doesn't conform to their narrow orthodoxy.
  • The freedom to express unpopular points of view encourages critical thinking, exploration, and debate.
  • Academia is overwhelmingly liberal, with skewed views trickling down from administration to faculty to students.
Against The Motion
  • What we've heard about in the news are isolated, high-profile incidents that are not representative of what's happening on the majority of campuses.
  • Students are exercising their right to free speech by protesting.
  • The majority of surveyed faculty and students do not perceive a liberal bias in their classrooms.

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The Research

The Research

Universities Are Right—and Within Their Rights—to Crack Down on Speech and Behavior

Eric Posner
February 12, 2015

There is a popular, romantic notion that students receive their university education through free and open debate about the issues of the day. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Campus Cult of Victimhood

Jonah Goldberg
February 18, 2015

We are teaching young people that being offended is an ideological priority.

Free Speech at Berkeley-So Long as It's 'Civil'

September 8, 2014

At an institution with an illustrious history, the priority is discourse that makes you feel 'safe and respected.'

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