Is Free Speech Really Free? Reframing Free speech on Campus
Session Category : Panel
Academic libraries have always stood for freedom of expression, but today’s campus climate seems different. In a number of recent high profile incidents, speakers on campus have been shouted down or had their speech suppressed by political opponents. Some see intimidation and violence as moving too far away from the core of civil discourse. Others interpret these actions as the politics of social justice where protesters respond to discrimination rooted in institutional and cultural biases. How should academic librarians respond to this polarized climate? In this session, two librarians and a library administrator will facilitate a scenario-based group discussion. Included in the presentation will be questions related to the difference between hate speech and protected speech; the role of the university in the community; how to engage the community without provoking violent actions; the role of librarians in the free speech debate; and the question of the dynamics of power.