Campus Free Speech
Free speech has become a flashpoint for controversy on campuses across the U.S. In today’s debate over free speech on campus, our philosophy is guided by the 1948 PEN Charter to stand for the “unhampered transmission of thought,” to “oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression,” and to “dispel race, class, and national hatreds.” We believe that for a campus to be open to all ideas, it must be genuinely open to all people, including those from less traditional backgrounds and those from previously excluded groups. In our trainings for university faculty and staff, and in our advocacy for free speech and academic freedom, we encourage campuses to robustly defend free speech and open inquiry at the same time that they advance principles of diversity and inclusion and address lingering legacies of discrimination.
WHAT ARE THE PEN PRINCIPLES OF CAMPUS FREE SPEECH?
The PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech provide both general and specific precepts for nurturing campus communities that uphold the values of free speech, open inquiry, and robust inclusion. They offer a flexible, adaptive model for colleges and universities seeking to protect speech to the utmost while allowing for academic and social discourse that is truly inclusive and transcends boundaries.
WHAT IS THE PEN AMERICA CAMPUS FREE SPEECH GUIDE?
The PEN America Campus Free Speech Guide offers practical, principled advice on free speech and inclusion on U.S. college campuses. The Guide contains advice for responding to speech-related controversies as well as guidance for proactive steps to avert such controversies and promote free speech and inclusion. The Guide reflects our efforts to uphold and advance the principles of free speech and inclusion in tandem, recognizing that college campuses are foundational to the future of civic life and often the catalyst for wider social change.
BRING US TO YOUR CAMPUS
PEN America partners with schools, colleges, and professional organizations to facilitate workshops, convenings, advisory meetings, public events, and educational programs. We tailor these engagements to the needs and interests of particular educational communities and audiences. Trainings are based on the PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech.
Wrong Answer: How Good Faith Attempts to Address Free Speech and Anti-Semitism on Campus Could Backfire
Joint Statement from PEN America, AAC&U: Legislative Restrictions on Teaching and Learning Violate Academic Freedom and Threaten Higher Ed’s AutonomyJune 8, 2022
Removing Tenure and Faculty Status for Librarians at Texas A&M University Would Be “Fundamentally Misguided”May 17, 2022
Do you need help with advocacy on your campus?
If you are a student, teacher, professor, or administrator who is having issues with free speech on your campus, PEN America has tools and resources to help. If you are in need of free speech advocacy, reach out to PEN America at [email protected]