Walking on a Wire: The Delicate Balance of Free Speech on College Campuses
Walking on a Wire: The Delicate Balance of Free Speech on College Campuses, 9 HOUS. L. REV.: OFF REC. 35 (September 18, 2018).
11 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: September 18, 2018
College campuses, once known for their ardent support of free speech, are losing their commitment to protecting this staple of democracy. Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, in their book Free Speech on Campus, argue strongly and persuasively for the importance of free-speech rights on campus. The book is written to be insightful not only to those who did not go to law school (although law school graduates will certainly gain insight) but also to those who did not go to college. The authors use rhetoric that should be effective to those who need this message the most: college students.
This book is not a disinterested, neutral summary of the current state of campus free speech. Rather, it is an unapologetically biased call for the need to protect free speech on college campuses. That being said, the authors are very tactful in their approach. For example, they make the often-overlooked distinction among free-speech advocates between protecting speech and agreeing with the speech. Furthermore, they are careful to not attack the people who attempt to censor speech on campus. Rather, they address the issue without impugning their character. Finally, they do not utilize straw man arguments. Instead, they respectfully address the strongest arguments available to the other side.
Keywords: Free speech, First amendment, Speech codes, Safe spaces, Free Speech on College Campus, Erwin Chemerinsky, Howard Gillman, Censorship, Hate speech, Milo Yiannopoulos, University of Oklahoma racist chant, CLS v. Martinez, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, Student organization free speech,
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