North Carolina Public Universities Aren’t Preparing Students Well on Free Speech | National Review

A University Dumps a Good Professor Rather Than Look ‘Unwoke’ | National Review


North Carolina’s Campus Free Speech Act requires all public universities to include in their freshman orientation programs information about free speech on campus. How well are they doing?

For the most part, not very well, argues Shannon Watkins in today’s Martin Center article.

She writes, “Unfortunately, many of the schools’ free speech sections are rather bleak. Rather than providing students with substantial information and guidance, the following schools include a very brief nod to free speech:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • UNC-Wilmington
  • UNC-Greensboro
  • UNC School of the Arts
  • Western Carolina”

At Appalachian State, students are told: “As a public university with an open campus, you can’t drown out the speech of someone you don’t like. If there are issues, you can report them to the office of student conduct. If you want to learn more about freedom of speech, come to the events scheduled around Constitution Day this fall.” That is hardly a ringing endorsement of free speech — if you hear something you don’t like, complain to campus officials.

Students at NC State are encouraged to “stand firmly against intolerance and hate” which many students will take to mean that they don’t need to make reasoned responses to ideas they don’t agree with.

Several of the universities didn’t bother responding to the Martin Center’s request for information that state law requires of them.

Not one of the UNC institutions took advantage of excellent free-speech materials available from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Watkins concludes, “if the institutions are serious about their core missions of discovering truth and furthering knowledge, it is in their best interest to inculcate in their students a respect for and understanding of free expression.” Yes, and they aren’t doing a good job of that.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.