Campus Free Speech

Free speech is extremely relevant to university campuses across the country, and lately it’s been a predominant issue on our UA campuses. A vibrant university is a place where ideas, opinions, and debates are welcome. Universities openly test our assumptions and are home to controversial ideas, and we need to maintain this – but we also have to ensure the safety of our campuses and students.

Whether expressing themselves as individuals or in organized groups, members of the university community are expected to conduct themselves responsibly, according to law, and to respect the basic educational goals of the university. Accordingly, the university insists that free expression not violate the rights of others. Disruption of the educational processes and functions of the university, or violation of law, would constitute such a violation.

However, support of the right to freedom of speech and expression must never be “qualified” at the university, whether the threats to it come from the left, the right, or any political quarter. The University of Alaska must meet its obligation to free expression, a precious constitutional right.



Free Speech on Campus
Erwin Chemerinsky, Howard Gillman Yale University Press, Sep 12, 2017
Can free speech coexist with an inclusive campus environment?
Hardly a week goes by without another controversy over free speech on college campuses. On one side, there are increased demands to censor hateful, disrespectful, and bullying expression and to ensure an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. On the other side are traditional free speech advocates who charge that recent demands for censorship coddle students and threaten free inquiry. In this clear and carefully reasoned book, a university chancellor and a law school dean—both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates—argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas.
Faculty and Staff Free Speech
Balancing Individuals' Rights With Those of the Institution
The Higher Education Workplace, Fall 2018 PDF
How Social-Media Trolls Turned U.C. Berkeley Into a Free-Speech Circus
Public universities have no choice but to welcome far-right speakers seeking self-promotion. Should the First Amendment be reinterpreted for the digital age? By Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, July 2, 2018 - PDF
There Is No Campus Free Speech Crisis
Interview with Erwin Chemerinsky, By Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September, 2, 2018 PDF

The Paradox of Free Speech in America Today
By Sanford J. Ungar, Higher Education Today, October 17, 2018 READ


Selections on freedom of expression

  1. Apology of Socrates by Plato
  2. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
  3. Two Concepts of Liberty by Isaiah Berlin
  4. The American Association of University Professors’ Policy Documents and Reports (also known as the “Redbook”)
  5. Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago
  6. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
  7. “A Free-Speech To-Do List for College Administrators” by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, appeared in the Wall Street Journal
  8. “Free Speech, Campus Safety, or Both” by Mark G. Yudof and Kenneth Waltzer, appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education