Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, and forms the foundation of both a liberal-arts education and democracy itself. Nonetheless, colleges are now acquiescing to calls for restrictions on speech that upsets or offends, and in a worthy effort to protect civil rights, universities are paradoxically creating a less civil atmosphere on campus. Students now seem to feel free to respond with vitriol to those with whom they disagree.
Brown University students have had to create a secret forum on free speech in order to participate in a free exchange of ideas. Yale students now protest against free speech, and find it offensive for professor and child development expert, Erika Christakis to suggest “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence,” as she wrote in her famously controversial email, “are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”