Colleges and universities play an essential role in sustaining our democracy. They serve as crucibles of ideas, dialogue, and debate, committed to the pursuit of truth and knowledge. But as political discourse has become increasingly polarized in the United States, colleges and universities have run up against tensions between the bedrock values of free speech and inclusion. Concerns centering on the use of language, historical legacies of discrimination, and the space for divergent ideas have roiled campuses across the country and shined a spotlight on fundamental questions regarding the role and purpose of free expression in American society. PEN America has been at the forefront of these issues, working to reconcile the tensions between free speech and inclusion to ensure equal access to the intellectual life of the campus and to sustain the spirit of open inquiry core to the academic mission.

For media inquiries, please contact Stephen Fee at [email protected] or +1 646.779.4830


Research and Resources

 

Program Staff

Jonathan Friedman

Jonathan Friedman
Program Director,
Campus Free Speech

Nicholas Perez

Nicholas Perez
Program Coordinator,
Campus Free Speech

 

Opinions and Commentary

Expert Testimony

“Examining First Amendment Rights on Campus”
House Committee on Education and the Workforce, September 26, 2018

“Examining Anti-Semitism on College Campuses”
House Committee on the Judiciary, November 7, 2017

Op-Eds

“Room for All Voices”
Talking Stick: The Authoritative Source for Campus Housing Vol. 37 No. 3, January 2020–February 2020

“There’s been a talk about campus free speech problems. It’s time to focus on solutions”
Teaching Heterodoxy, November 5, 2019

“A Response to Aaron Freedman”
The American Prospect, June 29, 2019

“Alabama and Texas are putting free speech at colleges in jeopardy”
The Washington Post, June 20, 2019

“Balancing Free Speech and Inclusion: Four Simple Strategies for Campus Leaders”
Higher Ed Connects, May 15, 2019

“Why Trump’s campus speech order is a big risk”
CNN, March 18, 2019

“When Hate Speech and Free Speech Collide”
Diverse Issues in Higher Education, December 5, 2018

“Enforced silence is just as dangerous as any offensive rhetoric”
The Washington Post, November 16, 2018

“What Trump administration gets very wrong about free speech”
CNN, August 7, 2018

“You can only protect campus speech if you acknowledge racism”
The Washington Post, May 25, 2018