One of the most talked-about free speech issues in the United States has little to do with the First Amendment, the legislature, or the courts. A set of related controversies and concerns have roiled college and university campuses, pitting student activists against administrators, faculty, and, almost as often, against other students. The clashes, centering on the use of language, the treatment of minorities and women, and the space for divergent ideas, have shined a spotlight on fundamental questions regarding the role and purpose of the university in American society. While free speech is alive and well on campus, it is not free from threats, and must be vigilantly guarded if its continued strength is to be assured.

Read the PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech »

Read PEN America’s comprehensive report, And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities »

Program Staff

Jonathan Friedman
Project Director, Campus Free Speech

Adeline Lee
Program Coordinator, Campus Free Speech








Recent Event

Can We Talk? A Student Dialogue on Politics and Free Speech on Campus
Monday, November 12, 2018 | 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kimball Hall, New York University

In today’s polarized political environment, can we still talk across our differences?

New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, and PEN America are proud to co-sponsor an evening of dialogue for students from diverse backgrounds and political perspectives to engage in lively and intimate discussions of contemporary politics and the state of free speech on campus. The event explored ways we can effectively debate, while also promoting how we might listen and learn from those with which we disagree. 

Find out more here »