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Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech (New Forum Books Book 61)

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  10 reviews

Why free speech is the lifeblood of colleges and universities

Free speech is under attack at colleges and universities today, with critics on and off campus challenging the value of open inquiry and freewheeling intellectual debate. Too often speakers are shouted down, professors are threatened, and classes are disrupted. In Speak Freely, Keith Whittington argues that uni

Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Princeton University Press
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Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: higher-education
Summary: A case for the vigorous defense of free speech as essential to fulfilling the mission of the university in the face of both institutional and outside attempts to suppress objectionable speech.

"Free speech on college campuses is perhaps under as great
a threat today as it has been in quite some time. We are not,
of course, on the verge of returning to the rigid conformity of
a century ago, but we are in danger of giving up on the hard won
freedoms of critical inquiry that have been wrested f
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was assigned as a Summer Read by my university. While it’s main argument is solid and oft repeated in public debates about Campus culture, it fails to offer an systemic explanation for the present moment and hard evidence to support The claimed prevalence of the problem. The debate over the state of speech on college campuses relies to heavily on politically charged anecdotes and fails to explain the how and why of student, faculty and administrator behaviors—-the incentive structure a ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DISCLAIMER: I was required to read this as a pre-read before entering university.

Good enough read. Well-researched and well-spoken, but rather simplistic and dry writing. This may be because he needs to appeal to all of the incoming freshman class, but I wish it had been slightly more sophisticated in language. Also, pretty short! I feel like he could have gone into much better detail. I almost felt like I was reading a propaganda piece -- the writing was that structured. The entire book was cle
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve ever wondered what constitutes free speech or the mission of a university, this is a good book for you. The author gives a good “jumping off point” for discussion and thought.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Like Lakoff's book, Don't Think of an Elephant, this is hard to swallow but absolutely necessary to heed. While he finally gets around to discussing the finances of free speech, he too easily glosses over the situation posed by the costs imposed by free speech. Sure, allow diverse speakers to speak on campus, but he lacked detail on how much those speakers might cost the campus and should all students be required to pay those costs. His primary answer, in the interests of free inquiry, would be, ...more
Rob Schmults
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Embracing free speech is easy if the speech never seems very challenging. It is easy to listen to pleasing ideas and affirmations of our own prior beliefs. It is much more difficult to learn to tolerate those with whom we disagree and who espouse ideas we find preposterous, repugnant, or even dangerous....(but) it is through controversy that we can make progress, often in the most unexpected ways.”

Personally I learned much more in school from people with different ideas and points of view from
Daniel Te
I commend Princeton Professor Whittington for tackling this topic, because this is certainly quite controversial. I appreciate the amount of research he did into various incidents involving free speech and academic staff on college campuses. As for the book itself, I think it was reasonably argued, although not mind-blowing in any sense. Also, not that big of a deal, but he does take a few shots at Yale professors and students (I know Princeton and Yale have a rivalry, but a little much maybe?). ...more
Yannis Karakozis
This book became insanely repetitive from the very beginning without offering any interesting insights. I dropped it after 40 pages of reading it. I would give it a 1-star, but I give it a 2-star review simply because it might have something to offer in the pages I did not read.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read, timely subject
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