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Union College President David R. Harris recently penned an argument against free speech on college campuses, claiming that institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to manage speech by providing “constructive engagement,” so that students can have an optimal learning experience.
Union College president David R. Harris penned an op-ed, entitled, “A Campus Is Not the Place for Free Speech,” in which he argues that it is the role of colleges and universities to filter the conversations on campuses to provide “constructive engagement.”
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“I oppose free speech on college campuses,” states Harris in his op-ed, “I think college campuses should be safe havens from voices on the left and right that violate what I have learned and what I believe.”
The college president had written his op-ed in response to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order requiring colleges and universities to uphold the First Amendment on campus in order to continue receiving federal research funding.
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“Many of the president’s supporters have applauded his free speech decision,” states Harris, “because they argue that higher education institutions trumpet liberal perspectives and silence conservative voices.” Harris adds that members of academia believe “the president and his supporters do not understand what actually happens on college campuses.”
Harris also claims in his op-ed that institutions of higher learning would only be managing speech on campus for students’ own good, suggesting that when left unchecked, free speech would not facilitate a productive learning experience, arguing that individuals will end up using speech irresponsibly when utilizing it in its “purest form”
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